Opel union wants answers on GM Europe restructuring

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Workers' representatives at Opel AG are demanding that GM Europe executives tell them this week how GM Europe's restructuring will affect its German operations.

Klaus Franz, head of the Opel works council, has called a special supervisory board meeting for Friday October 15.

"We are demanding official information about the restructuring plans," Franz said.

After that, the steering committee of the European general works council will discuss further action.

A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung stating that GM Europe boss Fritz Henderson plans to cut more than 10,000 of 62,000 jobs alarmed the staff.

Employee representatives argue that GM Europe's cost and profit problems are not isolated to the company, but the situation affects many other industries as well, even department store groups, such as Karstadt.

"This just as bad as the situation at Karstadt," one said.

GME insiders also believe that EU politics are partly responsible.

"[EU Competition Commissioner Mario] Monti forced the equal-price policy on us and we now have to react with an equal-costs strategy."

Insiders believe the "Olympia" rescue scheme, which former Opel boss and now GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster started in 2001, has failed.

Opel's biggest problem continues to be profit. The company will again make losses of a few hundred million euros during the current business year.

Henderson, who wants to present his rescue scheme by the end of November, is currently examining all budgets to find possible cost-savings potential.

It is said to be definite that Opel will withdraw from sponsoring the German stock car championships DTM.

Like Ford, Adam Opel AG will be turned into a limited-liability company as soon as possible. GM holds 100 percent of Opel equity.

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