General Motors told lawmakers that it plans to cut up to 31,500 more jobs in the United States, as it confronts a severe slump that has it begging Congress for a $18-bn bailout.
GM said yesterday it planned to reduce its total US employment from the current level of 96,537 people to between 65,000 and 75,000 salaried and unionised workers by 2012.
The total number of US plants would be cut to 38 in 2012 from 47 in 2008. GM has already slashed its workforce nearly in half from the 2000 levels of 191,465 people. The company operated 59 powertrain, stamping and assembly plants in the United States in 2000.
The job cuts were detailed in a report GM presented to Congress in hopes of securing government-backed, low-cost loans.
GM said it expects to be "fully competitive" with Toyota on wage costs for "both current workers and new hires" by 2012 due to "additional changes to be negotiated" with its main union, productivity improvements, turnover rates and the planned cuts.
A landmark labor agreement reached last year has lowered GM's total costs for new workers to $25 to 35 an hour compared with Toyota's average US labor cost of between $45 and 50 per hour, GM said.
"The operating and capital restructuring elements will significantly improve the company's profitability and cash flow for the long term, and enable full repayment of any temporary federal assistance by 2012" in the event US auto sales remain at or above 12 mn vehicles a year, GM said in the plan.