When was the last time an employee representative at Opel said that?

"The good news is: the order books are full," says Uwe Baum with a smile.

And the chairman of the car manufacturer's general works council hastens to add that there is "not so little" good news at the only German subsidiary of the Stellantis group.

After almost 2,100 jobs were cut in Rüsselsheim, the so-called focus areas in which Opel wanted to get rid of employees have also been dealt with since the turn of the year.

In the meantime, the company is even hiring again at its headquarters, albeit initially only temporary workers for the construction of now three models.

Thorsten Winter

Business editor and internet coordinator in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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The dispute over company pensions had “vanished into thin air”.

That means: the feared deforestation will not happen.

Rather, the agreement amounts to an interest rate of 3.25 percent or more instead of five percent as before.

Then there is a mobile working rule that serves both employees and the company.

Management and employee representatives are also not currently arguing in public.

Which should also be due to the fact that points of contention should have been worked through, as Baum suggests.

And the battery factory in Kaiserslautern will be a success, as he points out.

“That was a wise decision back in the days of PSA,” he praises the top management around Carlos Tavares, who also runs Stellantis.

Not to forget the record profit, in which the workforce should share.

A shortage of semiconductors also continues to hamper Opel

Is everything rosy and bright at Opel like this Tuesday during the press conference of IG Metall and works councils at the Opel plant in Eisenach?

Not quite.

Jörg Köhlinger, head of IG Metall in Hesse and Thuringia, calls for a "target image" for each individual location of the brand with the lightning bolt.

In Eisenach, for example, this target could define the future production of the fully electronic version of the SUV Grandland, which rolls off the assembly line there as a hybrid.

For Rüsselsheim, the answer to the question of what the successor to the Insignia should look like - and whether it will be manufactured again at the main plant.

A "target image" must also show how Stellantis intends to invest in e-mobility and how employees are to be qualified for this.

Especially since Opel only wants to sell electric cars in Europe from 2028 onwards.

Meanwhile, the development center in Rüsselsheim remains under pressure.

The employer has already announced the next reorganization, details are pending, says Baum when asked.

He calls on Stellantis to "view the development center as a small pot of gold" and not just look at hourly rates.

Will say: The developers are worth their price.

Like its sister brands, the car manufacturer is feeling the effects of the semiconductor crisis.

A lack of chips is hampering production.

According to works councils, the production lines in Rüsselsheim and Eisenach are at a standstill at the same time.

This is just as annoying from the employer's point of view as it is from the employee's point of view.

Neither side could plan properly.

The value chains are still disrupted - i.e. "highly volatile", as the IG Metall district manager puts it in managerial German.

The result is "shifts on call" and a backlog of orders.

Employees will find out overnight whether there will be enough chips again and when they will be allowed to build cars again.

"This cannot be permanent," says Köhlinger.

Just under 10,000 people at the main plant

If the metal trade unionists have their way, they will not only have a say in collective bargaining issues, working conditions and health protection, but also in resource planning.

Key word: an extended codetermination in strategic and economic questions.

With this in mind, Baum and his colleagues want to push for more permanent staff in Rüsselsheim.

The headquarters have just under 10,000 employees – for now.

It tends to be less when employees switch to the passive phase of semi-retirement or fully retire.

In view of this, Baum would like the group to have a strategy that pulls employees along instead of forcing them out of the company as in previous years.

"German co-determination is not an enemy, but a friend," Baum calls out to the executive floor.

Whereby Köhlinger knows: