PSA Group and German workers in agreement to end Opel production dispute

30 May 2018

30 May 2018 PSA Group and Germany’s largest workers union have agreed on an investment plan and job guarantees that will end current disputes at plants in the country. Workers at German production sites in RÃœsselsheim, Kaiserslautern, Eisenach, Dudenhofen and Bochum will have their jobs guaranteed until the summer of 2023 and investments have been budgeted for each site, according to a joint statement by the company, its works council and trade union IG Metall. Significant investments will be made in R&D at the sites between 2018 and 2023. As part of this investment, the Grandland X will be produced in the Eisenach plant as of mid-2019 in two shifts, including a hybrid version which will follow in 2020. The company will announce details on the planned investments for the other German sites at a later date. The negotiating parties also agreed on a further important step to define the Engineering Centre in RÃœsselsheim’s future role in the global PSA Group R&D network. The centre will be responsible for the development of the next generation EP engine family. Previously, the Engineering Centre in RÃœsselsheim had already received global responsibilities for the French manufacturer, with the allocation of 15 Centres of Competence. Furthermore, every future European Opel model will be developed at the plant. The carmaker also agreed on a new framework agreement with the social partners. It runs until July 2023 and includes an extensive package of measures to increase competitiveness. The exclusion of forced redundancies has been extended for the duration of the new agreement. ′This is a very important step in the implementation of the PACE! plan to make Opel fit for performance across Europe. And we are doing exactly what we promised. The increase of the competitiveness is allowing us to invest and secure a good future for our people,’ said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller. ′We are looking ahead after delivering on our commitment not to close any plants or announce any forced redundancies.’ ′We will ensure long-term utilisation of our German sites and thus protect employment – and this well into the next decade – with attractive models and high-quality components,’ said Lohscheller. ′We are deeply rooted in Germany, and our German plants are and will remain our backbone.’ Part of the agreement is also the departure of 3,700 employees in Germany based on the already implemented voluntary programme approved by the social partners. Currently, around 3,500 employees have already taken advantage of a voluntary programme. The dispute between PSA and Opel employees started when the French company attempted to renegotiate a promised 4.3% pay increase agreed when it bought Opel in August last year. These payments have now been delayed until 2020 at the earliest. Workers in other countries have already agreed to PSA’s plans. The announcement is reported to have angered French unions, however, with Grandland X production leaving Sochaux in eastern France. PSA said new overflow production of the Peugeot 5008 model would make up for some lost volume. France’s moderate CFTC union decried the move as ′bad news for the plant’ and demanded more information from management on the distribution of work between PSA and Opel plants. ′As long as we don’t have a clear picture of 5008 volumes, the Grandland’s departure will be a concern,’ said Christelle Toillon, an official with the CFE-CGC, another centrist union.