The world’s biggest carmaker, General Motors will slash its workforce in Europe by around a fifth, that is: 12,000 jobs, in a bid to halt losses.
Germany will be hit hardest by the cutbacks which will kick in over the next two years. GM says it needs to cut costs by 500 million Euros. GM owns Opel. And the Chairman of Opel’s European shop committee said that they had come up with proposals for the management and were still negociating. “But these kinds of problems should be resolved with European methods,” he said. “And not with a bulldozer, confrontation strategy. We continue to focus on negotiations and are disposed to make big concessions.” General Motors had already reduced capacity by 28 percent from 1999 levels in Europe, where it owns 100% of Opel-Vauxhall and Saab, 67% of Daewoo and 20% of Fiat, Subaru and Suzuki. GM employed around 63,000 people at 11 production and assembly plants in Europe at the end of 2003 and produces around 1.9 vehicles a year. The company currently has 32,000 workers in Germany, and is expected to axe 8,000 jobs at its two main plants there. Meanwhile Saab’s chief executive has been quoted as saying 500 jobs would go at GM’s Swedish brand. The job cuts come as the latest blow to a carmaking sector in Europe that is trying to cope with a mixture of high labour costs and intense competition.