Opel destroys another 1,000 jobs in Germany

Although the carmaker Opel is once again making solid profits under the Stellantis group umbrella, the management will be cutting another 1,000 jobs at its German locations in the coming months.

The Opel main plant in Rüsselsheim will be hardest hit. Above all, employees of the development center (ITEZ) and administration are asked to go “voluntarily”. But also at the Eisenach plant, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend, and at the Kaiserslautern plant, jobs are to be cut in a “socially responsible” manner.

The ITEZ has been under fire since PSA (Peugeot/Citroën) took over Opel in 2017. For CEO Carlos Tavares, the engineers who were once considered the “heart” of Opel are now too expensive. He wants to outsource development to external companies.

The merger of PSA with Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) to form Stellantis, announced in 2019 and completed in early 2021, has further accelerated the job cuts. Now, as of October 1st, the previous Opel sales in Rüsselsheim are to be transferred to a joint Stellantis sales organization. At the same time, hundreds of permanent employees were replaced by temporary workers on the Rüsselsheim production lines.

Management justifies its plan with the consequences of the crisis created by the ruling class and the federal government. An Opel company spokesman explained: “Against the background of the rapid change in the industry, the pandemic, the geopolitical situation, fragile supply chains and massive increases in energy and raw material prices.” The aim is to “sustainably strengthen the company’s competitiveness”.

In other words, workers who have often exhausted themselves in car production for decades are now said to suffer from the consequences of Germany’s involvement in the Ukraine war and the NATO-led economic boycott against Russia.

This is in conditions where hundreds of thousands have already paid with their lives and health for the government’s refusal to contain the coronavirus pandemic by pursuing herd immunity policies that allow the virus to spread in the interests of business and financial elites to spread. Now they too are supposed to give up their jobs voluntarily.

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What is striking about the latest bad news is not only the lack of interest on the part of the media and established politicians, but above all the silence of IG Metall. There is a simple reason for this. The most recent job cuts merely continue the policy of slash and burn that has long been agreed with IG Metall and the Opel works councils.

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