2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The lights are turned off at the Opel plant in Bochum. Most of the 3,000 employees switch to the transfer company, but the earlier end point was homemade.
After 52 years of vehicle production at Opel in Bochum, the last car rolled off the assembly line there. This was announced to the German press agency by employees of the manufacturer early on Friday morning. “The heart of Opel has stopped beating,” said one of them. The group will close the plant in the coming year due to excess capacities. The last Opel from Bochum - a Zafira compact van - is not to be sold regularly, but to be dedicated to a social cause. Opel will announce more details in the morning.
Opel prefers to close
Around 3000 employees in Bochum are now facing an uncertain professional future. Most of them switch to a transfer company for a maximum of two years. Only one spare parts warehouse of the car company with a total of 700 employees remains on the huge factory premises. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to set up new businesses there in the next few years. The development company “Bochum Perspective 2022” initially expects around 50 million euros to be invested over eight years.
Opel initially planned to close the plant at the end of 2016. However, since the employees had rejected the collective agreement offered by the company on March 21, 2013 - in contrast to the other plants in Germany - Opel had announced that it would bring forward the closure of the traditional location. Only then did some Opel employees in the Ruhr area begin to rethink, but the decision had been made.
Grönemeyer sings out of solidarity
The Opel withdrawal is a heavy blow for the region. The mayor of Bochum Ottilie Scholz (SPD) recently said that the decision was “very bitter” for those directly affected and the city. The musician Herbert Grönemeyer, who grew up in the city, wants to show his solidarity with a concert. "There are specific considerations to play a concert for the Bochum Opelaner or to invite them all," said the 58-year-old singer of the German press agency at a music event in Bochum. "The point now is to give them courage."
With a current unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, Bochum suffers from above-average unemployment. Around half of the Opel employees live in Bochum itself. A further rise in unemployment is therefore to be expected. Bochum has had to cope with other severe blows in the past, such as the withdrawal of the mobile phone manufacturer Nokia with 2,300 employees in 2008.
Closure costs Opel up to 700 million euros
With the closure of the Opel plant, what was once a showcase project of structural change in the Ruhr region ends. The plant was built on former mining land when the mining industry began to die out. When it opened in 1962, it immediately employed around 10,000 people - many of them former buddies.
In addition to the transfer company, there are severance payments for the employees who are now leaving. Overall, the closure of the plant will cost the company between 550 and 700 million euros, according to various calculations by the union and works council. (AG / dpa)