In the car against the Opel course

The union IG Metall wants to drum a demonstration parade for the protection against dismissal. The company is still looking for employees who want to leave voluntarily.

Opel production in Eisenach

AOn paper, the employees of the car manufacturer Opel don’t have much to fear at first. They are protected against redundancies for operational reasons until July 2025. At least that is what the future collective bargaining agreement provides, which the company and employee representatives added a corresponding additional agreement at the beginning of the year. But there has been a question mark behind the protection against dismissal since mid-September.

After all, it is based on the fact that up to 2,100 other employees leave Opel voluntarily. If this number is not achieved, the obligation to secure employment will be examined in particular, according to the German subsidiary of the French PSA group in September. Actually, the deadline for voluntary departure runs until the end of 2021. But the automaker wants to reassess the current status by the end of this month. That already annoyed the employee representatives in September. Shortly before the examination, the union IG Metall wants to organize visible resistance.

For this Tuesday, the employees at the Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim are called upon to demonstrate Corona-compliant by car parade for protection against dismissal. In the early afternoon, the trek should slowly start moving in front of the Adam-Opel-Haus and arrive there again after a twelve-kilometer circuit around the Opel factory and around an hour.

“Long-cherished dismantling fantasies”

“Hands off protection against dismissal” is the title of the appeal by IG Metall Darmstadt, which is also supported by the union representatives at the Opel site in Kaiserslautern. In addition, employees of the French company Segula from Rüsselsheim are to join. They, too, currently see a threat to some of the jobs that went with the partial sale of the Opel development center to the French supplier.

According to IG Metall, 200 employees are to go to the Segula location in Rüsselsheim. The management justified this with the fact that due to the Corona crisis there were no orders from customers, according to another leaflet.

“For weeks now, the PSA and Opel management have been threatening Opel employees and their families with redundancies for operational reasons if the downsizing has not happened by the end of the year according to their ideas,” the union justifies its appeal. The threat to terminate the future collective agreement in order to enable operational dismissals is a provocation. “Long-cherished redundancy fantasies are now being lived out in the slipstream of the Corona crisis.” It is to be feared that the downsizing will not end next year either.

Opel is still looking for volunteers

According to a statement from Opel on Monday, the company is still looking for employees who want to leave it voluntarily through partial retirement, early retirement or severance pay. The new degrees after the expanded volunteer program have so far been far below expectations, said a spokesman, without giving an exact number. It therefore remains unclear how many employees have so far opted for one of the three options for leaving. At the end of September, Opel reported that the company had found 500 of the 2,100 volunteers it needed.

From Opel’s point of view, time is of the essence. “Our goal is clear: we must implement the downsizing by the end of the year,” said HR manager Ralph Wangemann in an employee message in September. According to Monday, the company is looking for an exchange with the employee representatives. “We are in dialogue with IG Metall about the tariff situation and will also discuss all further steps with the social partner first,” said the spokesman.

The IG Metall further emphasizes that the agreed 2100 positions are an “up to” number and that the reduction should also take place by the end of next year. The union therefore sees the car parade on Tuesday only as a prelude. The day of action should be a first sign to show “that we are defenseless despite Corona,” it says in the protest call.