GM / Opel rescue looks increasingly slim as 60,000 EU workers strike - GM produce worst annual results ever for 2008
15,000 workers gathered at Opel's flagship in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt. Throughout Europe they were joined by 60,000 workers at protests at 14 Opel factories across Europe.
IG Metall boss Berthold Huber (left- Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Audi AG since January 1, 2006.) with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Opel's works council head Klaus Franz all spoke at the rally. "There is only one single chance, and that is spinning off Opel and Vauxhall from the GM group," Franz told workers gathered at the plant. He had previously been quoted "There's no future with GM; we can only see any prospects with a divestment."
Frank-Walter Steinmeier who will be running against Chancellor Angela Merkel in general elections this September, attended the protest today , saying he was doing everything he could for Opel - he said that at least five European countries would need to cooperate in order to save Opel. Fat chance.
GM has also announced Q4 losses of US $9.6 Bn. (€7.5 Bn), a total of US$30.9 billion for the year - Opel lost US $1.9 Bn. in 2008. . GM say that they will cut 47,000 jobs worldwide with 26,000 from outside the US and close 5 more US factories. (BBC)
GM sales fell from US $46.8bn in 2007 to US $30.8bnin 2008 - and they have already received US $13.4bn-worth of federal loans since December 31.
Revenue at the 100-year-old company also took a tumble, plunging more than a third to $30.8bn from $46.8bn in 2007.Now they are bidding up for US $30 Bn, of federal funds to stave off bankruptcyBerthold Huber, head of the union IG Metall, said of GM to Rüsselsheim protestors . ".. they have built models with the aerodynamics of a barn door and the weight of a small tank."
Levels of financial supprt required for Opel vary from €9 Bn to become totally independent from M. The federal government estimated that it would have to provide Opel loan guarantees totalling €1.8 billion ... later guesstimates put the figure at €3.3 billion.
Anonymous Opel and GM managers quoted by News agency DPA talk of needing €8 - €9 Bn.