© Reuters. OPEL (PSA) IS TO SUSPEND ITS VOLUNTARY REDUNDANCY PLAN
by Riham Alkousaa
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Opel has suspended its voluntary redundancy scheme after having been alerted by the staff representatives on the fact that the wave of departures already observed after the resumption of the mark by PSA (PA:PEUP) could result in a shortage of skilled workers.
This program has been suspended this week pending a meeting in late may between the management of Opel and the works council of the German car manufacturer, said this last Friday to Reuters.
Several executives are already left in recent months after the completion last summer of the buyout of Opel by PSA. Some engineers have joined other automakers such as BMW (DE:BMWG) or equipment manufacturers such as Continental (DE:CONG).
In the framework of a plan for the recovery of the mark, PSA wants to remove 3.700 positions at Opel in Germany by 2020, in particular via voluntary departures and early retirement. The representatives of the staff, led by the boss of the works council Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug, have, however, urged the French to suspend the voluntary departure who, in their eyes, threaten the expertise of the brand in key areas.
This situation illustrates the difficulty that is faced PSA, which should realize significant savings to allow Opel to return to profitability after 20 years of losses without losing the know-how on which it intends to rectify the brand.
“THE LEGEND OF GRANDMOTHER”
During the takeover of Opel from General Motors (NYSE:GM), Carlos Tavares, the chairman of the management board of PSA, said that the excellence of German engineering would allow us to attract new customers who might otherwise be reluctant to buy a French car.
PSA has returned to Opel for any request response on the subject.
Asked about the threats that would remind us of the plan of voluntary departures on the expertise of the brand, a spokesman for Opel said: “In Germany, we rely on programs of reduction of staff and volunteers, and we do not cause departures forced. In doing so, we guarantee that all critical positions remain filled and that all sectors continue to operate in the framework of an organization simplified.”
The management of Opel has refused to provide detailed figures on the departures of employees.
In an internal document sent to staff at the end of April and is consulted by Reuters, the brand, which opened its office in march for employees who want to enjoy a premium starting, writing having received about a thousand applications out of a total of 19,000 employees in Germany.
“The claims that we are faced with a ‘mass exodus’ of staff is highly efficient and that the work cannot be done within the legend of grandmother,” writes the human resources management in this document.
The works council of Opel has not responded to requests for comment.
A senior officer who left Opel last fall, believes that it is necessary to reduce the supervision of 25% to be able to reduce costs. Two engineers of high rank parties in march, argue for their part that the many departures have severely weakened the brand in the field of design of vehicle platforms for cars of small and average size.
These three former employees have denied that their identity be disclosed in order not to risk losing the benefits of their early retirement or not to violate the terms of their voluntary departure.
(With Jan Schwartz; Bertrand Boucey for the French service)