First part of Opel rescue scheme nears successful completion

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Opel's rescue plan is making progress as sizeable numbers of workers are signing on to the company's terms.

"In Ruesselsheim, we have 2,700 lump-sum settlements, in Kaiserslautern almost 250. And it looks as if in Bochum in 2005 the planned 1,300 employees will also change to the employment organizations voluntarily," says Klaus Franz, head of the works council.

"We are well on our way to completing the first part of our restructuring program and to coping with the most significant turning point since World War II," says Franz.

The final results will be announced on February 25.

The second part of the rescue scheme, which deals with labor costs, production contracts and the securing of locations, is expected to be more difficult.

Franz: "I am no longer able to tell if the negotiations over the future pact will be finished by the end of February."

The management of General Motors, Opel's US parent, also believes that it is more realistic that negotiations will be concluded by the end of March.

In the meantime, Opel's Bochum plant is preparing for the production of the new Opel Zafira. Production startup is at the end of April and the car will be launched in July.

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