IG Metall and the Business Council have responded to sharp criticism of the Stellantis car group’s plans to remove legal liability for plants in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach from its German subsidiary, Opel.
On October 29, the union IG Metall announced protest actions in its Mitte district, which includes the four federal states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Thuringia. Thuringia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) also warned on Friday against outsourcing factories and insisted on compliance with contracts and commitments.
“There is still a lack of clarity on whether and how. On the basis of what is known, I am already speaking against this path,” Tiffinci said in Erfurt. “The Stellants and therefore Opel are strong in the network.” The plant in Eisenach can already produce for all brands Stellantis, but such a change in the law is not necessary.
In light of the uncertainty among customers, employees and the general public, the minister said it is urgently advised to “put an end to these considerations as soon as possible and move forward with stabilizing production and strengthening the site as soon as possible.” Opel in Eisenach has 1,300 short-time employees since Monday. The Thuringian Factory has been its own LLC for nearly a decade.
“The uncertainty is unbearable,” Ove Lobach, representative of Eisenach AG Metall, told dpa. After shutting down production at the Eisenach Opel plant due to a shortage of electronic components by the end of the year, the workforce’s confidence in the group’s management was already damaged. Now the concept should be on the table as to how it will continue on January 1st.
IG Metall in Frankfurt stated: “With the planned disintegration, the parent company Opel is putting the entire brand, locations and staffing as well as joint decision structures at risk. Employee representatives will not accept this without resistance.”
Chairman of the Public Works Council Opel Uwe Baum emphasized that the announcement did not follow any economic logic. “It is an attempt to escape participation in the decision. The only objective of secession is to weaken successful participation in Germany.” According to their own data, IG Metall and the job boards don’t know what Opel’s conversion plans should look like.
According to a Handelsblatt report Thursday night, a company spokesperson said on demand that Stellantis is considering developing its production sites in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach into their legal and production organizations. The “collaboration and flexibility within the Stellantis production network” should be further enhanced. This move should help secure jobs in the long run.
This will be achieved, among other things, through simpler product allocation through plant autonomy and the implementation of more efficient on-site solutions. The spokesperson emphasized that the Eisenach factory was already independent from 1990 until the end of 2013. Rüsselsheim is the headquarters of the traditional Opel brand.
“Of course, working conditions for all employees should remain unchanged, and existing collective bargaining and labor agreements should continue. We now want to talk to social partners about the exact structure,” the group spokesperson said.
According to information from “Handelsblatt”, the management surrounding Stellantis President Carlos Tavares is considering separating production facilities in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach from Opel Automobile GmbH and transferring them to independent companies. According to the plans, the two companies will not be connected to Opel in Germany, but directly to the Stellantis unit, for example in the Netherlands.
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