Following the agreement on the future of the goods distribution center in Rüsselsheim, the management and works councils of Opel have now reached a much more fundamental agreement. The short-time work is to be extended significantly.

Unable to reach agreement: Works council chairman Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug and Opel boss Michael Lohscheller

TOutgoing employees from Opel in Rüsselsheim and the other German plants of the car manufacturer have to prepare for more months with less work than usual. Management and the general works council want to extend the existing short-time working until the end of next year. In addition, the company is also opening the partial retirement offer for those born in 1964. This is evident from information sent to the workforce that the FAZ has received. There was a digital works meeting on Friday.

Previously, the management had caused displeasure with the attempt to question the collective agreement protection of employees against redundancies for operational reasons until August 2025. The reason: The German subsidiary of the Peugeot parent company PSA wants to get rid of another 2,100 employees by the end of 2021. So far, however, only around 500 have opted for one of the ongoing volunteer programs, including severance payments and partial retirement.

Employment agency has the floor

In view of this, IG Metall spoke of a threatening scenario from PSA and Opel. Like the Hessian state government, the union immediately urged loyalty to the contract. Before that, management and employee representatives had agreed on a line for the continued existence of the goods distribution center called the parts warehouse at the headquarters. Accordingly, 150 of the good 300 positions will be retained. Opel initially wanted to dismantle more than 200.

With the short-time work, the car manufacturer wants to make up for the temporary lack of employment that is due to the pandemic. The employment agency has to decide whether Opel can extend the short-time working as desired, as it says in the information to the workforce. Those born in 1964 will be included in partial retirement. Representatives of IG Metall had previously requested this. Employees whose workplaces are available should also be qualified for other positions in the company in order to increase “internal mobility”. Last but not least, there should be training opportunities for employees who want to leave Opel.