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article imageGM begins first round of layoffs — axing 4,000 workers

By Karen Graham     Feb 5, 2019 in Business
Detroit - General Motors began involuntary layoffs on Monday, hoping to complete the latest round of cutbacks before releasing its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
GM plans on terminating about 4,000 workers in its North American operations, part of a broader series of cuts that are expected to save the automaker around $6 billion and help to prepare the company for an expected slowdown in the U.S. automotive market over the next few years, according to NBC News.
The automaker says it has almost completed salaried job cuts in Canada, with most of the employees threatened with job cuts taking an incentive package to leave. GM announced the closing of its Oshawa, Ontario plant in November along with four other plants in the U.S.
According to CBC Canada, GM Canada spokesperson Jennifer Wright would not say how many jobs had been eliminated or how many employees may be laid off. However, she sent a statement that read, "We expect to have a modest number of other salaried reductions completed shortly."
Some employees in GM's Detroit headquarters received an email Monday morning from CFO Dhivya Suryadevara telling them "restructuring activities" were beginning and saying employees will be informed by their team leaders when the cuts are complete.
General Motors' chair and chief executive Mary Barra said advanced information technology in ne...
General Motors' chair and chief executive Mary Barra said advanced information technology in new cars, especially "connectivity" systems, creates huge new challenges
Drew Angerer, Getty/AFP/File
"This will be implemented staff-by-staff and location-by-location over the next couple of weeks," Pat Morrissey told the Detroit Free Press. "We’re not going to get into which departments and when and where it’s happening. Some staffs have already implemented this over the last few weeks, but there’s more of it this week and next week."
One thing is obvious - Employees at GM's headquarters in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit and outlying GM offices in Warren and in other regions described the atmosphere as "anxious." One employee said, "This cloud has hung overhead for months. I need it to go away so we can start functioning normally again."
A changing auto industry
General Motors will be reporting its full year and fourth-quarter earnings for 2018 on Wednesday. GM CEO Mary Barra notes that the auto industry is changing, with higher costs for research and development anticipated as the industry works to capture a share of the autonomous ride sharing and delivery of goods market.
Barra says GM is not an automaker anymore and should be seen as a "tech company." So there are more skilled workers being hired with technical skills in great demand. And even during the layoffs, GM has been hiring.
"We will still need to do some targeted hiring to ensure we have the right skills for the future," Morrissey said. "For example, Cruise Automation continues to hire to support the growth in autonomous vehicles."
More about General motors, Layoffs, whitecollar, fourthquarter earnings, Restructuring
 
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