Talks on cutting labor costs stall at Opel

Ruesselsheim. Pay talks between Opel bosses and trade unions have been postponed due to profound disagreements between the unions and management.

Opel boss Carl-Peter Forster aims to cut the German automaker's labor costs by 80 million euros. Automobilwoche has learned that he is refusing to accept pay rises negotiated nationally by the IG Metall trade union for workers in the metal industry.

Forster also wants to cut the 2004 Christmas bonus for Opel employees. On top of that he plans to cut the wages of the workers at Opel's Kaiserslautern components plant by at least 10 percent.

Opel's works council is demanding that the company implement the national agreement. The works council says it will only cooperate with Forster's plans to cut labor costs if employees receive more job security.

The council also wants a pledge that there will be no lay offs after 2005. Further works council demands include: the manufacture of the new Insignia at the Ruesselsheim plant, continued axle production at the Bochum factory and a guarantee of several years of contracts and investments for the Kaiserslautern plant.

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