View Full Version : General Motors To Shed Quarter Of Workforce This Year

06-25-2006, 05:49 PM
GM to shed quarter of workforce this year


(Gold9472: Damn.)


General Motors will on Monday disclose details of one of most dramatic corporate downsizings in US history, exceeding a key target of its turnround plan and accelerating the demise of the privileged American car worker.

Rick Wagoner, chief executive, is expected to announce that about 30,000 workers – more than a quarter of GM's blue-collar US workforce – have taken up its offer of early retirement and severance packages.

Almost all will leave by the end of the year, achieving in a few months what the company had set out to accomplish over more than two years.

A total of 50,000 workers or more is set to leave the industry over the next few months.

Later this week, Delphi – the former GM subsidiary which is north America's biggest auto parts maker – is expected to disclose that at least 9,000 of its 31,000 unionised workers have accepted similar buy-outs.

Many Delphi workers not included in the original offer, have until late July to decide.

In addition, Ford, the second-biggest Detroit-based carmaker, has disclosed that more than 10,000 workers have taken packages. All three companies are also cutting salaried staff.

The GM buy-out "is really historic", said Gary Chaison, industrial relations professor at Clark University in Massachusetts. He said it marked "the end of the good jobs" in the auto industry, created when the Detroit carmakers held a dominant market share, or were willing to grant generous concessions in return for labour peace.

GM shares have soared by a third since the company announced the "accelerated attrition programme" late in March. They closed at $26.97 on Friday.

The buy-outs, from $35,000 to $140,000 depending on length of service, will bring big savings to GM, especially in future health and pension benefits.

They will also shrink the so-called Jobs Bank, which lets laid-off workers collect full pay just for showing up at an assembly plant each day or doing volunteer community service. The buyouts are part of GM's plan to bring north American capacity into line with its shrinking market share. It is cutting capacity by 1m vehicles a year, with a dozen plant closures by 2008.

GM's share of the car and light truck market fell to 22.5 per cent last month, the lowest for decades. It has sacrificed some market share in recent months to wean buyers off discounts and other sales incentives. Nonetheless, GM is expected to announce a new incentives programme tomorrow, in response to an aggressive promotion by DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit.

It heralds tougher times for the United Auto Workers union, once the aristocrat of the US labour movement. Membership fell to 557,000 last year, about a third of the level in its 1970s heyday.

06-25-2006, 05:56 PM
Save your sympathy for 2007 when shit hits the fan.