Germany bears the bruntof GM's big job cuts

14th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2004 , RUESSELSHEIM - US auto giant General Motors aims to slash some 12,000 jobs in its European work force, with the brunt of the payroll cuts - 10,000 jobs - at Opel plants in Germany, officials said Thursday. Rainer Einenkel, deputy head of the Opel workers council, said that among the cuts, 4,000 jobs each would be slashed at the company's main car factories in Ruesselsheim and Bochum. His disclosure was more specific than the plans first announced by GM Europe president Frederick Henderson

14 October 2004

RUESSELSHEIM - US auto giant General Motors aims to slash some 12,000 jobs in its European work force, with the brunt of the payroll cuts - 10,000 jobs - at Opel plants in Germany, officials said Thursday.

Rainer Einenkel, deputy head of the Opel workers council, said that among the cuts, 4,000 jobs each would be slashed at the company's main car factories in Ruesselsheim and Bochum.

His disclosure was more specific than the plans first announced by GM Europe president Frederick Henderson, who disclosed that the job reductions in Europe would amount to 12,000.

Henderson said talks would be held with workers' representatives.

"We are going to work constructively with workers' councils for a solution to the task at hand," he said, while indicating that plant closures had not been ruled out.

Besides the Opel works in Germany, with some 33,000 workers, GM is also aiming to cut its capacities and payrolls at Vauxhall in Britain and Saab in Sweden.

Some 90 per cent of the payroll reductions are to be carried out in 2005. Henderson said the aim is to slash GM Europe's costs by some EUR 500 million annually starting in 2006.
The 12,000 jobs figure is somewhat higher than the 10,000 mentioned in recent media reports.

In early 2002, GM had announced its aim to slash its European workforce from 70,000 at the time to 53,000 over two years' time. GM's payroll is currently at 62,000, which would mean that a cut of 12,000 jobs would reduce the European payrolls to around 50,000.

GM, suffering for years from overcapacity at its Opel, Saab and Vauxhall, is losing hundreds of millions of dollars per year in Europe. In 2003, Opel's operating losses alone came to EUR 384 million.

Along with the main production plant in Ruesselsheim, Opel also has plants in the Ruhr valley industrial city of Bochum and the eastern German city Eisenach and an engine factory in Kaiserslautern.

Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe vice president, said the company was not ruling out having to lay off workers, "but we will try to find other solutions".

Forster focused in his comments on the Bochum plant, which is the oldest GM factory in Europe and least efficient.

"We have to put Bochum on a competitive cost level, or otherwise the future there looks dim," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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