FRANKFURT -- General Motors and labor officials have reached an agreement in principal that could cut up to 10,000 jobs at the firm's Adam Opel unit, works council chief Klaus Franz said on Friday.
"GM board will meet on Tuesday in Detroit to decide on the whole package," Franz told Reuters. "It is about a voluntary compensation plan to avoid forced layoffs."
An Opel spokesman confirmed that GM's board would meet on Tuesday, but declined to comment on details.
The Opel union had said on Thursday that a deal was imminent, but job cuts were unavoidable given weak orders. It said it would demand GM refrain from forced layoffs or plant closure.
GM has not made a profit in Europe since 1999, despite previous cost-cutting drives that have reduced capacity by 28 percent.
It said in October it planned to eliminate up to 12,000 jobs in Europe -- roughly one-fifth of its European work force -- to save 500 million euros by 2006.
Most of the cuts target high-cost Germany, home to the world's most expensive car workers.
The maker of Opel, Saab and Vauxhall cars employed around 63,000 people at 11 production and assembly plants in Europe at the end of 2003 and produces around 1.9 million vehicles a year. It has 32,000 workers in Germany.