FRANKFURT -- General Motors and German labor union IG Metall have given themselves just over four months to hammer out a definitive plan to restructure the money-losing operations of the U.S. carmaker's European brand Opel.
"The aim of the negotiations is to create a roadmap for Opel through 2016 and even beyond. I can tell you that labor is absolutely determined to reach a deal," said Oliver Burkhard, a senior IG Metall official, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
Burkhard, who heads the region responsible for Opel's Bochum manufacturing plant, said labor would continue to push for a solution that would prevent its closure at the end of 2016.
GM, IG Metall and Opel's labor leaders said on Wednesday they were in talks over a plan to cease production at the Bochum plant over four years from now in exchange for guaranteeing German jobs through 2016, when GM is due to stop making the Zafira minivan at the factory.
GM is seeking to cut costs in Europe, where new-car sales are poised to decline for the fifth straight year, in part because of the region's debt crisis.
Opel/Vauxhall accounts for the bulk of GM's European business, which reported a first-quarter operating loss of $256 million. GM Europe lost $747 million before interest and taxes last year and has reported $16.4 billion in losses since 1999.
Sources: Reuters and Bloomberg