6 Nov 2009

Germans strike over GM move to sell Europe operation

2:43 pm on 6 November 2009

Thousands of Opel workers in Germany have downed tools in protest over a decision by General Motors not to sell its European operations.

The decision to keep Opel rather than selling a majority stake to Canadian car parts maker Magna and Russia's Sberbank has been badly received in Germany.

GM says it intends to restructure the business, cutting about 10,000 jobs across Europe.

The head of Opel's employee council, Klaus Franz, says workers fear General Motors will close plants in Germany and cut more jobs than Magna would have

Meanwhile, General Motors says it is confident it can find the $US3 billion it says it need to keep and restructure its European Opel unit.

GM chief executive Fritz Henderson says Opel has the liquidity it needs to pay off the $US1.3 billion remaining on a bridge loan from the German government.

He says GM can find ways to provide financing to Opel from its US operations, despite restrictions following its bailout.