European trade union action in response to Opel/Vauxhall restructuring

(PresseBox) ( Brussels, )
The Opel/Vauxhall case is a bad example of big multinational companies trying to play off workers and unions across borders. There is only one answer to this in the European metal unions' view: Unity of the unions and the workers across borders to ensure no plant closures and no compulsory redundancies.

This was the conclusion reached by trade union leaders from Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, meeting under EMF auspices in Brussels today to decide on Europewide measures and action in the Opel/Vauxhall restructuring case. They find it totally unacceptable for the company to announce plant closures and mass redundancies without any satisfactory prior information, consultation and negotiation procedure. The decision to close the Antwerp plant shows that Opel/Vauxhall management feels it can behave with total disregard for the letter and the spirit of the EWC Directive. It is an attack on the basic rules of the European social model.

A Declaration was drawn up at the close of the meeting, signed by all the participating unions, containing a list of the EMF basic demands which have been sent to Opel/Vauxhall CEO, Nick Reilly:

- The closure decision on Antwerp must be revoked and no forced redundancies are acceptable.

- A clear longterm industrial strategy for the Antwerp plant must be delivered by Opel/Vauxhall management.

- Full compliance with the agreed European SUV allocation must be guaranteed.

- Subject to the decision on Antwerp being revoked, any future negotiation on employee contributions towards cost saving must be conducted by the EMF and the EEF.

- Government aid and subsidies should not be used to finance closures and/or forced redundancies.

- Opel/Vauxhall management must ensure a fair European distribution of capacities, including engineering.

- National collective agreements in the individual countries must be respected and there must be a total exclusion of any kind of social and tax dumping.

- No new recruitment should take place whilst job losses are occurring in other plants.

- No increases in working time.

The Declaration can be found here:
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