General Motors Cancels Opel Sale, Workers Stage Walkout

Thursday 05 November 2009, 00:00 AM by Satish Kalepu

General Motors was planning to sell its European subsidiaries Opel and Vauxhall to Canadian auto parts firm Magna and Russian bank Sberbank. Now it has decided to cancel the sale and retain these brands. There has been angry retaliation from Germany about GM’s decision about cancelling the sale as German politician fumed over the decision and workers readied walkouts to show their protest. German government and the workers were supporting the deal as they expected that the restructuring option would save more jobs in the country. Workers fear that retention of the brand with General Motors will result in deeper job cuts than Magna was planning to do.

General Motors is trying to regain its profitability with its re-invention process. Opel’s top employee representative, Klaus Franz stated that this was a “black day” for the workers and they will stage brief stoppage on Thursday.

GM issued a statement clarifying board’s decision to be important for "an improving business environment for GM over the past few months, and the importance of Opel/Vauxhall to GM's global strategy.” Fritz Henderson, President and Chief Executive said, “GM will soon present its restructuring plan to Germany and other governments and hopes for its favorable consideration."

General Motors' saga over sale of its European subsidiaries has been dragging since February 2009 and fate of nearly 10,500 workers out of a 50,000 work force has been hanging undecided.

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