Vlaams Gewest; Prov. Antwerpen; Arr. Antwerpen
Location of affected unit(s)
Manufacture For Transport Equipment
Manufacture Of Motor Vehicles, Trailers And Semi-Trailers
29.1 - Manufacture of motor vehicles

2,606 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
21 January 2010
Employment effect (start)
Foreseen end date
30 June 2010


On 21 January 2010, the American group General Motors announced the closure of its assembly plant Opel in Antwerp resulting in the loss of 2,606 jobs. This decision comes as a big shock for Flanders. The unions reacted to the announcement by blockading the plant and threatening to prevent all new cars from leaving the plant until GM has agreed an acceptable social plan for the redundant workers. Opel CEO Nick Reilly said that GM intends to alleviate the negative effects of the job cuts by providing affected workers with training programs and assistance in finding a new investor for the site.

The Opel CEO said that the closure is necessary to the survival of the group. He commented ‘we have to take a plant out, and unfortunately it is Antwerp. It is the tough reality of the current business environment'. According to him, car sales in Europe should drop of 4 million euro in 2010 compared to 2007.

The job redundancies are part of a large restructuring plan aimed at eliminating 8,300 jobs in Europe and scaling back capacity by 20 percent. Some 4,000 jobs will be lost at Opel's four plants in Germany and another 900 jobs are likely to be eliminated at the factory near Zaragoza in Spain.

The Belgian authorities have applied for aid from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).



Eurofound (2010), Opel, Closure in Belgium, factsheet number 70146, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/70146.