In December, the Opel partner Segula was still looking for more staff than expected. As a result of the Corona crisis, he now wants to cut numerous jobs. It’s not that easy, however.
Ob Bosch, ZF or Continental: automotive suppliers suffer from a lack of orders. One reason is the switch to more electric cars that require fewer parts than combustion engines. A second reason is the corona crisis. It also hits Opel partner Segula hard. In such a way that the French family company in Germany currently has too little work for 300 employees. This emerges from a video message from Managing Director Martin Lange to the workforce. At the end of last year, Segula had announced even more new hires than previously planned – and, according to Lange, also hired 150 colleagues.
As Lange explains, the management initially opted for short-time work. Since April, the employees in the individual departments in Rüsselsheim and Dudenhofen as well as in Chemnitz, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart have been working briefly to varying degrees, as a spokeswoman for the FAZ confirmed. Rüsselsheim is by far the largest Segula location in this country. More than 700 people are employed there, at least still. Because, as Lange and the spokeswoman say, short-time working will not be sufficient for the management as a means of compensating for the insufficient workload beyond the end of the year.
“Not expected like this a year ago”
“We have 300 employees who are currently underutilized,” says the Germany boss. And: “I would not have expected it like this a year ago.” At the beginning of last year, Segula took over parts of the development center from Opel in Rüsselsheim against the opposition of the works council of the car manufacturer, as well as the test track in the Offenbach district. Lange had shown confidence in conversations afterwards. He referred to the expertise of the workforce and the high level of interest shown by other car manufacturers in view of the growing market for suppliers.
In the video published to the workforce on Monday evening, Lange also emphasizes that the business model as a service provider for vehicle construction and drives will remain. The customers were positive. Alone: ”We need the orders.” In his words, Segula Germany will not achieve the targeted turnover of 120 million euros this year. Rather, it should only be around 90 million euros, he predicts. The company was still on schedule in the first quarter. But then Opel and other customers would have cut back their orders. He puts the underutilization at “minus 20 to 30 percent”.
“No alternative to dismantling”
The brand with the lightning bolt, like the entire PSA Group, closed its plants for a few weeks at the beginning of the Corona crisis and is only now, after the company holidays, restarting production. In Rüsselsheim, short-time work continues to apply at Opel as long as the factory is not equipped for both of the new models advertised.
Against this background, according to the video message, Lange sees no alternative to downsizing. However, it is not that easy. Because Segula has concluded a collective agreement with IG Metall and guaranteed protection against redundancies for operational reasons until July 2023. Opel had previously stipulated this for its employees after negotiations with the social partners.
In this respect, the statement by the spokeswoman is not surprising that the number 300 is “not a tough target number”. Rather, Segula will have to approach works councils and IG Metall in order to be able to cut jobs at all before August 2023. Opel uses severance payments, partial retirement and early retirement to a considerable extent. In this way, the car manufacturer has already cut thousands of jobs and will lose more.