GM to slash 14K jobs in North America, could close 5 plants

General Motors car assembly plant in Oshawa

General Motors car assembly plant in Oshawa

We may disagree on politics sometimes but we're united on making sure that we support the people that are possibly losing their jobs coming up in the GM plant and all their suppliers, Ford said.

General Motors is to lay off 14,000 workers in North America and put five factories up for potential closure as it stops making some of its unpopular cars.

Unifor, the union that represents GM's hourly workers in Canada, said it "does not accept the closure of the plant as a foregone conclusion".

Canada and Ontario also backed a 2005 investment by GM to modernize the Oshawa plant's paint shop.

"In the past four years, GM has refocused capital and resources to support the growth of its crossovers, SUVs and trucks, adding shifts and investing $6.6 billion in USA plants that have created or maintained 17,600 jobs", the company said Monday. Instead, the company said this year it would make the Blazer in Mexico.

Its North American salaried workforce, including engineers and executives, will shrink by 15 percent, or about 8,000 jobs.

The plant produces the Chevrolet Impala, the Cadillac XTS and the Chevrolet Silverado.

Last month, GM offered a voluntary severance program to 18,000 longtime salaried employees in North America.

In a press release, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said, "The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future".

GM's latest move includes the possible closure of seven plants worldwide, as the firm shifts its focuses from away from a stagnant sedan/saloon auto market.

"The first thing I said was, 'What can we do?'", Ford said Monday, recalling his phone call Sunday with the head of GM Canada.

General Motors announced Monday morning that the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and Warren transmission operations plant will close in 2019, as well as plants in Ontario, Ohio, and Maryland. "It's obviously an extremely tough day for us but it is nevertheless important and exciting to be in a company that wants to lead in electric and autonomous and, like many industries that are transforming, if you don't take bold steps you risk a much bigger dislocation", Paterson said.

The US$6-billion in savings includes cost reductions of US$4.5 billion and lower capital expenditure annually of nearly US$1.5 billion, GM said.

Others consider it reflective of GM's natural shift toward electric vehicles.

The company also said it will stop operating two additional factories outside North America by the end of next year, in addition to a previously announced plant closure in Gunsan, South Korea.

Barra said in a conference call with reporters that she wanted to transition the company when times were good.

The General Motors Canada office in Oshawa, Ont., is photographed on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

The Oshawa plant, located just outside of Toronto, was built in 1953.

US President Donald Trump demanded General Motors add a new product to replace a plant in OH that the company said it planned to close next year due to lagging small-car demand.

A former Canadian auto executive said it would be hard for Canadian government officials to entice GM further to keep the plant open.

Barra said GM is still hiring people with expertise in software and electric and autonomous vehicles, and many of those who will lose their jobs are now working on conventional cars with internal combustion engines. "We think it's appropriate to do it while company is strong and the economy is strong".

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