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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Germany set to take brunt of job cuts under Opel restructuring

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Germany set to take brunt of job cuts under Opel restructuring

STAFF

AND WIRE REPORTS

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

NOVEMBER 26, 2009 06:01 CET

MUNICH -- Germany will take the brunt of about 9,000 job cuts planned by General Motors Co. in Europe as it reorganizes its Opel/Vauxhall division, Nick Reilly, GM's acting head of European operations, said.

GM plans to cut about 5,400 jobs at its German factories but will keep open all its plants in the country, Reilly said.

He said no final decisions will be made before consultations with Opel labor leaders finish next month, adding that the future of Opel's plant in Antwerp, Belgium, is "uncertain."

Reilly said GM is aiming for closure of the discussion by years' end.

“We must create a sustainable, viable business plan for Opel/Vauxhall. The competition is intense and getting fiercer every day. We have to reduce our costs,” he said in a statement.

Antwerp working group

Opel factories at Eisenach and Bochum, Germany, along with Antwerp, had been regarded as most at risk of closure.

Reilly said GM will establish a working group to look at Antwerp's future and will “consider all alternatives” for the factory.

Last year, Antwerp built 133,000 Astras.

GM aims to reduce its production across Europe by 20 percent as part of a big reorganization of the money-losing division.

Regarding state aid, Reilly said the restructuring required about 3.3 billion euros ($4.92 billion) to help Opel/Vauxhall get through the economic crisis next year and to invest in new products and plants.

GM will provide some of the funding of that amount but the company hopes to receive support from European countries with Opel factories, he said.

GM Europe employs 50,000 people in Europe and has plants in Spain, the UK and Poland as well as Germany.

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I think now it is a balanced trim. Opel Germany employs about 60% of Opel/Vauxhall workforce so should see 60% cut. I think GM is luring EU governments to fund them without playing favoritism.

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Without getting too political, I think Germany acted with just as much hubris as GM has been accused of having in the past.

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Without getting too political, I think Germany acted with just as much hubris as GM has been accused of having in the past.

Point we need to learn is how low the politicians from other countries can get to make right for their country be it destroying other countries and bending the laws of capitalism. Here is a complete different story - politicians would have sent rows of blondes, benjamins and boozes to Tokyo had Scion been a US division employing 55,000 people. I sometimes just wish we wipe every politician away and have a clean start.

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Germany tried to have its cake and eat it too. There is no free lunch. Sort of funny how Germany has forgotten the lessons of the Berlin wall already: government planning leads to ruin and poverty.

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