Thursday, November 5, 2009

The US car manufacturer General Motors said that it would axe 10,000 jobs at its European division, Opel. According to the company’s vice president John Smith, the firm wanted to reduce costs at Opel by 30%.

Smith announced the company’s move on Wednesday. He didn’t say where the cuts were going to take place, but wanted to present details of the plan to European governments “very soon”.

A day before the announcement, GM said it was cancelling a deal to sell Opel to Magna, a Canadian automobile parts company.

Politicians in Germany expressed disappointment at GM’s cancellation of the Magna deal, which the country’s government had favoured. “[GM’s] behaviour towards Germany is completely unacceptable,” said German economy minister Rainer Bruederle.

The premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia remarked that “General Motors’ behaviour shows the ugly face of turbo-capitalism. That is completely unacceptable.”

The UK government, however, welcomed the firm’s decision. “It is the best decision for Britain and our plants,” said the general secretary of the British union Unite, Tony Woodley. “I am absolutely delighted that General Motors have finally done the right thing for them and for us,” he told the BBC.

About 54,000 people are employed by Opel, about 25,000 of them in Germany.