General Motors Corp will slash its global salaried work force by about 10,000,or 14 per cent,this year and impose pay cuts on most remaining white-collar US workers as it scrambles to reduce costs under a restructuring mandated by its US government bailout.
GM,which was granted $13.4 billion of government loans in December,said on Tuesday it would cut its salaried work force to about 63,000 from 73,000 during 2009.
In the struggling automaker’s home market,about 3,400 of 29,500 white-collar jobs will be cut. At the start of the decade,GM had 44,000 salaried employees in the United States,the majority of them in southeast Michigan.
Most jobs will be cut by May 1,and remaining US staff will see pay cuts of between 3 per cent and 10 per cent for the year,GM said.
The job and pay cuts are the latest step GM is taking to pare its operations ahead of a deadline to present a restructuring plan to the US government on Feb. 17.
This underscores the depth of a recession that has forced every major global automaker to slash salaried and hourly jobs,close plants and reduce production in a bid to save cash.
Chrysler LLC,which also received $4 billion in government loans and was seeking an additional $3 billion,is currently offering buyouts to its US hourly workforce after cutting more than 8,000 salaried jobs in 2008.
GM,Ford Motor Co and Chrysler have shed about 140,000 jobs since 2005 and almost half of their workforce since the start of the decade.
“These difficult actions are necessitated by a severe drop in vehicle sales worldwide and by the need to restructure GM for long-term viability,” GM said in a statement.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the cuts would not be made across the board,but would be based on specific staffing needs for each department in response to changing consumer demand.
For example,GM may still need to hire more engineers for its next-generation battery business as the company pushes for the development of plug-in electric vehicles,Wilkinson said.
He added that some countries may take deeper workforce cuts depending on the growth rates of the markets.
GM’s sales in January plunged 49 per cent and the automaker has said it expects industrywide US sales to be near 10.5 million vehicles in 2009,extending a four-year slump that has taken the market to the lowest levels since the early 1980s.
As a result,GM executives have said the company is looking for deeper and faster cost-cutting under the restructuring plan that will be submitted to the US Treasury under terms of its $13.4 billion bailout.
GM has offered buyouts to its US workers represented by the United Auto Workers union. The automaker remains in talks with both the UAW and bondholders in an attempt to slash its outstanding debt.
GM said US executive pay would be cut 10 per cent for the rest of 2009. Other salaried US workers will face pay cuts of between 3 per cent and 7 per cent,it said.
GM also said it would review the pay and benefits its workers outside the United States receive.
Salaried workers in the United States whose jobs are eliminated will be eligible for severance pay and some benefit assistance,GM said.
GM had suspended some benefits for salaried workers in November and said then that it would aim to cut 30 per cent of its white-collar payroll costs in North America.
But the slump in global auto sales has deepened in the three months since and increased the pressure on GM to slash costs and conserve cash to avoid bankruptcy.
GM’s shares were little changed at $2.85 on the New York Stock Exchange in late morning trading.
Nike may cut up to 1,400 jobs
Shoe and apparel company Nike Inc. said Tuesday that it may cut up to 1,400 jobs as part of a restructuring.
The company said it is realigning its business and as part of that,could cut up to 4 per cent of its work force. Nike employs nearly 35,000 people worldwide.
The Beaverton,Oregon-based company reorganized its business two years ago to increase sales and says this decision is the next step in that strategy.
The news is a blow in Oregon,where the unemployment rate in December was 9 per cent,the highest in nearly a quarter century.
Nike says the exact number,timing and location of the positions to be eliminated will not be known until a review of its entire business is complete at the end of May,when its fiscal year ends.
“In light of the current economic climate,it is more essential than ever to sharpen our focus on the consumer,” Nike President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker said in a statement.
Nike,which is the world’s largest maker of athletic footwear and clothing,said it will look at its entire supply chain from the source to retail stores to ensure it is positioned as well as possible to survive in the increasingly difficult economic environment.
Parker said the Nike brand and the company’s portfolio of other brands,which include Converse,Cole Haan and Umbro,”continue to be a competitive strength”. He said the work force reduction was a difficult choice but will put the business in a strong position to keep growing.
Nike has consistently grown its profit and been a darling of investors. But in recent quarters,the company began to show the pressures of the recession as its sales slowed,particularly in the United States,where consumers are cutting back sharply on discretionary purchases.
Nike’s strong growth overseas continued,but its profits have been hampered by the dollar’s strength.
Nike previously took other steps to control costs,such as implementing a hiring freeze and cutting travel and other operating expenses. It also tightened its inventory controls.
Shares of Nike fell $2.72,or nearly 6 per cent,in trading Tuesday to close at $45.05. In after-hours trading,shares fell 25 cents to $44.80.