Opel revamp deal expected this week: German union

Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:35am EST
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By Jan Schwartz and Christiaan Hetzner

HAMBURG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German union IG Metall expects to strike a deal this week with General Motors Co's (GM.N: Quote) Opel unit over the restructuring of the carmaker's German operations.

"We are just about to reach an agreement," said a spokesman for IG Metall on Thursday.

The negotiations, which started in June and were supposed to complete by the end of October, could be concluded on Thursday but may need an extra day, according to the union spokesman.

Opel could not be reached immediately for comment.

The deal is expected to extend job guarantees by another two years to 2016 for all four German plants, which together employ around 20,000 workers.

At the start of 2017 at the latest, however, assembly lines at the Bochum car plant will cease running and only some components and warehousing jobs will remain under the deal.

A union source involved in the negotiations told Reuters labor leaders were not willing to agree on further wage concessions and job cuts in Bochum.

Workers fear GM wants to "hollow out" Opel, where labor has had certain rights under German law ever since it became a joint stock company in 2010.   Continued...

An employee works on Opel car doors at the Opel factory in Eisenach January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner