Sales slump: opel puts thousands on short-time work

Sales slump: opel puts thousands on short-time work

The declining workload can no longer be compensated for by using corridor shifts and flextime credits, as was previously the case," said opel personnel director holger kimmes on thursday in russelsheim.

For this reason, adam opel AG is introducing short-time working at the russelsheim site and the kaiserslautern component plant from september 2012 in consultation with the works council and the union for metal, engineering and electronics (IG metall). "20 days each were agreed upon for the period until the end of the year," the company and the works council announced.

In russelsheim, the cutbacks will affect 3,500 employees in production and 3,300 in administration – in other words, around one in two employees at the company’s headquarters. The rule does not apply to the 7,000 employees at the development center in russelsheim. 2500 people at the kaiserslautern plant have to go on short-time work. Chairman of the general works council wolfgang schafer-klug emphasized: "the introduction of short-time work secures jobs."

Short-time allowances are paid under certain conditions by the employment agency and amount to 60 percent of net income for single persons and 67 percent for employees with children. Opel employees are lucky: they do not have to give up such large portions of their wages, as schafer-klug explained: "thanks to the support of the short-time allowance and the agreed company allowance, the financial burden on our colleagues is kept within reasonable limits."

According to dpa information, pay-scale employees will lose a maximum of six percent of their normal net income each month – regardless of how many short-time days are worked in the month in question. For employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, the reduction can amount to a maximum of one tenth of the salary. In addition, the works council is reported to have succeeded in its demand that executives also participate "appropriately" in the savings measures to secure the company’s future.

In production, working hours will be reduced from september onwards with short-time shifts or working days; at least three days of short-time work must be taken per month. In the areas of administration and services, the regulation will be implemented from october onwards.

Like other carmakers largely limited to the european market, the sovereign debt crisis is currently weighing heavily on russelsheim’s. Opel sales in western europe slumped by almost 15 percent in the first half of the year, while the overall market lost "only" 6.3 percent. The expensive overcapacities are rubbing a deep hole in the balance sheet: in the second quarter, the U.S. Parent company general motors posted an operating loss of 361 million dollars (294 million euros) in its european business, compared with 256 million dollars at the beginning of the year.

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