Clash between German IG Metall union and Stellantis top
The influential German car union IG Metall lies on a collision course with the Stellantis top management. The latter wants to reorganize Opel completely. But, on the other hand, the union fears dismantling the coveted co-management typical for the German industry.
Stellantis is studying the possibility to make independent entities of the Opel plants in Rüsselsheim (near Frankfurt) and Eisenach (east of Germany). “To reinforce the cooperation and the flexibility within the production chain,” said an Opel spokesman to AFP.
No ties with Opel anymore
Once they’re independent, the plants would be linked directly with a Stellantis entity, “in the Netherlands, for example.” They wouldn’t be part of Opel anymore, the German newspaper Handelsblatt has found out.
Stellantis is a company based in Amsterdam, erected and functioning under Dutch law as the fruit of a fusion between FCA and PSA.
“This project threatens the Opel brand, the factories, the workers, and the entire sense of co-management,” says IG Metall in a press release. The powerful union asks for another perspective and additional investments.
IG Metall calls upon all workers in the factories to manifest their refusal of the project on the 29th of October, an already scheduled ‘action day’ of the union. “What Opel is announcing has no economic sense,” says Uwe Baum, head of the works council.
“What they want is to get away from co-management,” he adds. This dismantling is destined to weaken the cooperative management, a cornerstone of the German economic model which works very well.”
No important changes
The management of Opel claims there will be no essential changes. “The working conditions will stay the same, and the collective agreements will remain,” says the spokesman. “We now want to discuss this in detail with our social partners.”
Opel justifies the move by saying that “Stellantis organizes the production in so-called clusters to reach a maximum and efficient use of capacities and to be sure that all plants can produce cars from all brands within Stellantis.”
Rüsselsheim is where it all began for Opel, and today the plant occupies 2 100 workers. The plant in Eisenach has 1 300 employees and has been independent from 1990 (after the German reunion) to 2013. At the moment, Eisenach has been closed till the end of the year due to the chip shortage.