What does the future hold for the Opel factory in Szentgotthárd?
Magyaridok.hu reported that in the 1st round around 100 hired employees were sent away from the engine factory of Opel in Szentgotthárd, but the workers are afraid of even further dismissals. In fact, PSA bought Opel from General Motors with certain conditions due to which it does not have any interest in the usage of German-innovated equipment parts. Consequently, the future of the engine factory is in danger.
An employee of the factory revealed that
the factory does not refer to this phenomenon as “dismissal”, because, in the 1st round, they only send away the hired employees.
These people have been working for the factory for years, and when they were employed, the factory stressed that they would not be put at any disadvantage because of their hired status. In reality, however, this is a completely different situation. From next January, further cut-backs are expected due to the decrease in purchase orders. To react to the incident, magyaridok.hu wanted to talk with Opel Hungary, but they did not want to comment on this issue.
The underlying cause of the dismissals is probably that the Peugeot-Citroen automotive industry does not want to use the engines produced and innovated by Opel. Recently, it came to light that the French PSA intends to equip all its cars with its own engines, because in order to use the technologies developed under the direction of the American General Motors, it has to pay licence fees, announced Gilles Le Borgne, the Director of Research and Development of PSA.
According to the manager, all Opel cars will be innovated in Germany, but they do not want to carry out the same work in the French parent company and in its German subsidiary company at the same time. They are going to start to use of the platform of PSA, but the conversion might take some time. Meanwhile, their aim is to get rid of the licence fees paid to General Motors.
As far as the future of the Opel-produced and innovated engines are concerned, it is still not decided what is going to happen.
In July, the French PSA group bought Opel, thus the factory in Szentgotthárd as well, which is the largest among the tax payer and employment provider companies in the area. In March, when the factory celebrated its 25th birthday, the leaders announced that they were thinking in the long-term. Furthermore, it was in February that the 9 millionth Opel engine was produced. If the PSA really wants to use only its own engines, the future of the Opel factory might be at risk, and that could lead to disastrous consequences in the local area.
According to the employee mentioned above, the leadership of the factory is helpless in the issue. The particular piquancy of the affair is that the director of the factory in Szentgotthárd is Grzegorz Buchal, a Polish expert. This might be interesting because of the competition that the PSA generated among the Opel factories for the production of engines in the future. Because in this competition the biggest rival is the Polish factory.
The letter of this employee further reveals that in case the factory does not get a new project to work on, there won’t be any work left after 2020.
Opel did not officially comment on the issue, but the local trade union attempted to nuance the situation. Csaba Tóth, the leader of the trade union of Automotive Production in Szentgotthárd, reported that the number of employees needed should be adjusted to the production, and the new owner thus opted for the reduction of capacity.
As for the future, according to the presumed plans, it is known that the number of the currently produced 600,000–700,000 engines will fall back to 450,000 in the Hungarian Opel factory.