Thousands of German jobs under threat at Opel

14th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The buyers of a controlling stake in General Motors' European units plan "to eliminate 3,000 jobs in production and 1,100 in administration" at Opel in Germany.

Berlin -- Germany's economy minister has warned that Canadian auto parts maker Magna and its Russian finance partner could make severe job cuts when taking over carmaker Opel, with one report saying 4,100 positions were threatened.

The buyers of a controlling stake in General Motors' European units plan "to eliminate 3,000 jobs in production and 1,100 in administration" at Opel in Germany, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported without citing any sources.

There are four Opel factories in Germany with some 25,000 employees.

German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said that it was always known that Magna would cut production jobs although there could be more job losses that originally expected.

"Since spring, it was known by all the parties, including representatives of the (Opel) employees, and from the information I was given, that the number (of job cuts) mentioned by Magna only concerned the productions sector but other job cuts were feared in administration," zu Guttenberg said in an interview to appear Sunday in the Bild am Sonntag.

Magna has already indicated that it wants to cut about 10,000 of the 50,000 jobs in GM's European units, Opel and Vauxhall.

Under the deal announced Thursday, GM will sell a 55-percent stake in Opel to a consortium equally owned by Magna and state-owned Russian lender Sberbank. GM will retain 35 percent and employees the rest.

Elsewhere in Europe there were also worries about where Opel's new owners would make the major cuts that analysts say are crucial for long-term survival.

Opel has about 7,000 employees in Spain, 4,700 at Vauxhall in Britain, 5,500 in Belgium, 1,800 in Italy, 1,600 in Austria and 1,500 in France, according to GM Europe's website.

AFP/Expatica

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