Trying to make the best of a nasty situation for everyone involved, Opel has reportedly worked out an agreement with its Works Council and the IG Metall union to reduce working hours at two of its plants. From the end of September until the end of the year, there will be 20 days of short shifts and short working days for two Opel facilities: the Rüsselsheim factory that builds the Insignia and Astra and the Kaiserslautern component plant. About half of the 13,800 Rüsselsheim employees will be affected, including everyone but engineers, along with all 2,500 workers at Kaiserslautern.

The move helps keep people employed, and a German goverment program called Kurzarbeit – short work – will reimburse workers either 60 or 67 percent of their lost wages. Analysts commenting on the plan say, yet again, that it will not help the practically Europe-wide issue of overcapacity, which in the case of General Motors is said to equal the output of ten factories. Nor will it help Opel's slide: deliveries in the first half of this year are down 15 percent. The Adam subcompact and the promised restructuring can't come soon enough.
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Opel makes use of short work until the end of the year
Reduced labor time in Rüsselsheim and Kaiserslautern

Rüsselsheim, 2012-08-23 -- In an agreement with the Works Council and IG Metall, today Opel announced short work for its Rüsselsheim facilities and Kaiserslautern component plant, starting September 2012. The agreement includes 20 short work days for each of the facilities until the end of 2012.

"The European car market is declining substantially. Until recently, the decreased production schedules could be compensated by applying corridor shifts and accrued overtime," says Holger Kimmes, member of the Opel Management Board and vice president, Opel/Vauxhall Personnel. "Now short work is the right bridging measure."

"The introduction of short work will safeguard jobs," said the head of the Opel Works Council Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug. Thanks to the support of short work payment and an additional allowance from the company, the financial burden for the employees will be limited. The Works Council and IG Metall have worked to ensure that this socially responsible measure can be applied to the Rüsselsheim work force and production area, as well as administration.

Short work applies to manufacturing as well as to the central and administrative functions. In manufacturing, labor time will be reduced by short work shifts or short work days starting in September. In the administrative and service functions, short work days will be applied starting in October. Individual policies will apply in these functions. Engineering is not affected by short work.

There are 13,800 employees working in Opel's Rüsselsheim facilities, with 3,500 employees in manufacturing, 3300 in central and administrative functions and 7,000 in engineering. About 50 percent of the Rüsselsheim employees are affected by short work.

The Kaiserslautern plant has a workforce of 2,500.

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