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After 6,000 Take Buyouts, G.m. To Lay Off Thousands

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/business...mp;ref=business

General Motors expects to lay off thousands of factory workers after the number who voluntarily quit through a recent buyout and early retirement program fell short of the carmaker’s target.

G.M. said Monday that about 6,000 hourly workers had left as of Saturday. That means the company still has about 48,000 hourly workers, which is 7,500 more than its year-end goal of 40,500.

A G.M. spokeswoman, Sherrie Childers Arb, said the company planned to meet with the United Automobile Workers union to determine how it could meet its goal by Dec. 31, but she said the company was not considering another buyout offer.

“Some people will go into a layoff situation,†Ms. Childers Arb said. “Others will be offered positions at other G.M. facilities. But we probably would not be able to find positions for all of those workers.â€

Workers who agreed to leave their job received cash payments of $20,000 to $115,000, with the largest amount going to those who gave up retirement benefits other than their pensions. Departing workers also received a voucher worth $25,000 toward a new-vehicle purchase.

The cuts are part of the turnaround plan that G.M. developed under the oversight of the Obama administration. G.M. has borrowed $50 billion from the government to help it restructure and spent a little more than a month operating under bankruptcy protection.

The turnaround plan also calls for G.M. to close a dozen more plants and to cut thousands of salaried jobs. It is eliminating 35 percent of its executive ranks and recently reassigned a number of executives to new roles.

About 66,000 hourly workers have taken a buyout or early retirement offer from G.M. since 2006. About 7,000 left during one such program earlier this year. Ford and Chrysler also have used buyouts to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs in recent years.

“One of the very tough, but necessary actions to position the company for long-term viability and success is to reduce our total U.S. work force, both hourly and salaried employees,†Diana D. Tremblay, G.M.’s vice president for labor relations in North America, said in a statement.

G.M.’s contract with the U.A.W. calls for hourly workers who are laid off to receive most of their pay through a combination of state unemployment benefits and supplemental pay from the company, though the union recently agreed to shorten the time that assistance was available.

More job losses can only help the US recovery.

I wonder how much of there pay-offs are going to pay down debts?

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