Opel works council and management are in the clinch

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Works council and management argue about jobs and investments.


(Photo: Reuters)

Munich At the car manufacturer Opel, the house blessing is wrong. Away from the hustle and bustle of the merger of the French parent company PSA with Fiat-Chrysler Opel management and works council argue internally in an unusually harsh tone about investment and accuse each other in circulars to the workforce to maintain falsehoods.

"Intimidation attempts against colleagues or attempts to measure the IG Metall or the General Works Council, we reject with determination. This presumptuous form of communication will not contribute to the settlement of the conflicts, on the contrary, "it says in a leaflet of the works council of October 31, which is the Handelsblatt.

What happened? On Monday last week, Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller met with representatives of the union IG Metall and the works council for a crisis talk. The employee representatives accused the management in advance of the deadline to violate the collective agreement concluded by both parties in the summer of 2018 and demanded that Lohscheller submit a "total investment list" in order to secure stocks and employment in the German plants. However, the meeting did not bring any improvements from the union's point of view.

"The from the Opel and PSAManagement presented investment list in the German Opel locations enough neither to the future collective agreement fixed conservation, nor to secure employment, "said IG Metall district manager Jörg Köhlinger publicly after the exchange with Lohscheller. The Opel management then sent a detailed statement to all employees as a reply.

"Of course we stick to the collective agreement," says the circular, which is available to Handelsblatt. "According to the current state, more than half of the billions committed to 2023 have already been pledged or pledged." Against this background, the Opel management emphasized that the "actions and announcements" by IG Metall and the works council were all about the meeting of the past Monday are not helpful to find solutions together.

The management further accuses the employee representatives of settling existing differences of opinion among the social partners, contrary to the rules of procedure provided for this purpose. "Unfortunately, the General Works Council and IG Metall did not follow this path, but rather chose the way to the public again," says the opinion of the Opel management. The management also emphasized that Rüsselsheim's plant divisions such as toolmaking (TDO) or prototype construction (PPO), where "there is currently underutilization", want to find "socially compatible solutions" together.

These formulations in turn angered the works council. "For the areas of TDO and PPO, contrary to the employer's claim, there are no proposals to find 'socially acceptable solutions' for under-utilization," the works council leaflet of 31 October said. "The job losses must come to an end," the employee representatives demand.

After Opel has already decided the reduction of almost 7,000 jobs through voluntary programs such as severance pay, partial retirement or early retirement since mid-2017, underutilization can be "only through investment and insourcing" countered, it says in the opinion of the works council.

An Opel company spokesman did not want to comment on request. Internally, the clinically discharged clinch between management and employee representatives is anything but benevolent. Employees call "the battle" the regular and increasingly shrill mutual accusations. Instead of representing the interests of Opel within the new autogiant PSA / Fiat Chrysler, both sides spent themselves in a guerrilla warfare, fears a leader: "This is disturbing."

More: Opel reorganizes its development center. In Rüsselsheim now the concern is growing that the engineers could soon run out of work.

(TagToTranslate) Opel (t) Car manufacturer (t) Works council (t) PSA (t) Fiat-Chrysler (t) Michael Lohscheller (t) TDO (t) PPO (t) Rüsselsheim (t) Co-determination (t) Rationalization and rehabilitation (t) Labor market (t) Job losses (t) Collective bargaining (t) Mergers & Acquisitions M & A (t) Fiat Chrysler (t) IG Metal (t) Michael Lohscheller (t) Automotive

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