Forster: 35-hour work week is 'wrong signal at the wrong time'

Chairman Carl-Peter Forster is afraid Opel's factory in Eisenach will become uncompetitive should unions succeed in their demands to establish a 35-hour working week there.

With many carmakers and suppliers choosing to build new factories in eastern Europe, "this is sending out the wrong signal at the wrong time," Forster told Automobilwoche.

According to Opel personnel manager Norbert Küpper's calculations, a sudden cut in Eisenach working hours from the current 38 hours a week to 35 hours, together with an additional wage increase asked for by the unions, would increase costs at the plant by 8.4 percent.

"It would be difficult to compensate for that cost increase by raising productivity," said Forster. "However, I am not going to threaten to move our production to the east."

But Forster said he might be forced to review future investments at Eisenach. "Wage levels would also play a central role," he said.

Strike ballots are currently being held at Eisenach.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.