Layoffs looming after buyout offer falls short

About 6,000 General Motors Co. blue-collar workers have taken the latest round of early retirement and buyout offers, but it fell short of the company’s goal, meaning more layoffs are likely.

DETROIT — About 6,000 General Motors Co. blue-collar workers have taken the latest round of early retirement and buyout offers, but it fell short of the company’s goal, meaning more layoffs are likely.

GM has about 54,000 factory workers and wants to end the year with 40,500, a cut of about 13,500. That means that about 7,500 too few workers took the offers, setting the stage for more layoffs.

The automaker announced earlier it would close 15 U.S. factories by end of 2012.

Spokeswoman Sherrie Childers-Arb said the number of layoffs has yet to be determined because some workers at closed factories could take open jobs at other factories.

One of the closed factories in Michigan will be reopened to make a new subcompact car, while two others in Spring Hill, Tenn., and Janesville, Wis., will close and be on “standby”.

GM said in a statement that most of the workers officially left the company’s employment on Saturday.

Sixty-five per cent of the workers took early retirement packages, while 35 percent took buyouts, the company said. About 40 per cent of the 6,000 were skilled trades workers, with the remainder coming from the production work force.