Sun, Feb 19, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Merkel to protect Opel jobs if PSA takeover completes

AFP, FRANKFURT, Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said she would do everything possible to protect jobs and factories in Germany if automaker Opel is taken over by France’s PSA Group.

“We will do everything politically possible to secure jobs and sites in Germany,” Merkel said at a Berlin press conference.

PSA, the parent company of France’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS, has confirmed it is interested in taking over Opel, the German arm of US giant General Motors Co (GM).

However, the plans have sparked fears in Germany that the potential new owner could cut German jobs that doubled up existing posts in France.

The powerful IG Metall metalworking union and the Opel works council called for “unequivocal recognition and implementation of existing agreements for all Opel/Vauxhall sites, in particular commitments on employment and investments” in a joint statement released on earlier Friday.

PSA’s interest in Opel appeared to catch both the German and French governments by surprise, with German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries on Tuesday labeling PSA and GM’s lack of communication about the talks “unacceptable.”

Worker representatives “are ready to hold constructive talks in case of a sale of Opel/Vauxhall,” they said in their statement.

However, “our objective must be to seize the existing opportunities to safeguard employment and sites,” Opel works council chairman Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug said.

Vauxhall is the brand used by Opel on its vehicles sold in Britain.

Despite their fears, the worker representatives say they “see opportunities arising from the creation of the second-biggest car manufacturer in Europe” after Germany’s Volkswagen group.

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