Sun, Feb 03, 2019 - Page 16 News List

GM to lay off about 4,000 workers: source

RESHUFFLE:GM had not calculated how many people would be involuntarily terminated because of the cuts, but said it would save the company US$6 billion


General Motors Co (GM) is expected to lay off about 4,000 salaried workers under a reorganization announced late last year, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The layoffs are part of a cost-cutting plan GM announced in November last year, aiming to slash 15 percent of its salaried and contract staff and shutter seven plants, including five in North America.

Media reports estimated the total job cuts of salaried staff and union workers at about 14,000, including about 6,000 union workers.

The actions — which were roundly criticized by US and Canadian politicians — would save US$6 billion in costs, GM said.

GM has not estimated how many workers would be involuntarily terminated as a result of the cuts.

A GM spokesman declined to comment on the timing of the layoffs after CNBC and the Detroit News reported they would begin to get ahead of the company’s earnings report tomorrow.

“We’ll communicate with our employees first,” the spokesman said.

About 2,300 salaried workers opted for voluntary buyouts, while another 1,500 contract staff were let go, said the source, who described the estimate of 4,000 laid-off salaried staff as reasonable.

GM officials have said they expect to add 2,700 jobs at various US factories and that US union staff would be offered transfers.

The automaker is also working with Canadian universities and officials to help about 3,000 workers affected by the closure of an Ontario plant, a GM spokesman said.

Not all workers eligible for transfers would be able to relocate for family reasons, United Auto Workers spokesman Brian Rothenberg said.

“All of them are impacted,” Rothenberg said. “We don’t know how many will be laid off versus relocated.”

GM has defended the cuts as essential to position the company for the long-term, and savings from the reorganization boosted its profit outlook for this year.

Separately, US auto sales got off to a frosty start this year, with all major automakers except Ford Motor Co reporting weaker numbers than expected.

Ford deliveries rose about 7 percent last month, buoyed by strong demand for pickups, according to people familiar with results the company no longer makes public on a monthly basis.

GM joined Nissan Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp in posting bigger declines than analysts estimated in a Bloomberg News survey.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Honda Motor Co’s gains trailed projections, and both companies blamed the cold.

The annualized industry sales rate slowed to 16.7 million last month, an Autodata Corp researcher said, trailing analysts’ projection of 16.9 million. The pace of car and light truck deliveries was 17.1 million in January last year.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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