RUSSELSHEIM, Germany - Management and workers of Adam Opel AG have reached an agreement concerning the planned joint ventures with Fiat in purchasing and powertrain components.
The agreement ended a dispute between workers and management that led to a spontaneous walkout at Opel's Bochum, Germany, plant last week, disrupting production at other Opel plants and costing Opel production of more than 4,000 vehicles. Workers were fearful of the impact on their jobs of General Motors-Fiat joint ventures in purchasing and powertrain components.
The agreement specifies that workers moving to planned GM-Fiat joint ventures will be treated as if they were still working for Opel, the company said in a press release. That means they will keep their wages and salaries, pensions and fringe benefits.
Existing works council committees will still be responsible for the new limited-liability units and will still be represented on the Opel supervisory board.
All Opel plants in Germany were scheduled to be back in operation by today (June 19).
The Bochum walkout happened after union leaders met to discuss the impact of the alliance and to ask for job security guarantees resulting from planned outsourcing of certain functions into newly formed joint ventures.
An Opel official said the powertrain alliance would strengthen Opel's position in the diesel segment with engines supplied by Fiat. He predicted it would also significantly increase demand for engines made in Kaiserslautern and Bochum. Demand for GM-made gearboxes is also set to rise. Opel plants will now be supplying gearboxes to Fiat.
Employees in Bochum have had less experience with such outsourcing than their colleages at Russelsheim, Eisenach or Kaiserslautern, and that lack of experience helped trigger their concerns, the Opel official said.