December 14, 2018 / 3:30 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-GM to begin U.S. layoff notices as it offers job transfers

(Adds GM share price, additional details of job offers, senator questions)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Friday said it is beginning to send formal notices to U.S. government agencies of its plan to end production at auto plants and cut thousands of jobs as it shrinks passenger car production in North America.

The largest U.S. automaker said 2,800 hourly active U.S. workers at four American plants that will end production next year are eligible for new jobs at other plants.

GM said it currently has 2,700 current open positions at seven plants in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas, with about 1,000 of those open jobs at an assembly plant in Flint, Michigan.

GM said more than 1,100 U.S. employees at plants losing production have already volunteered to transfer to other GM U.S. plants, while 1,200 are eligible to retire.

With normal attrition rates, a GM spokesman said the company is confident that all affected hourly workers will be eligible for another job if willing to move to another plant.

GM said many salaried employees at plants losing production “will have opportunities at other GM locations.”

The formal layoff notices will begin going to government agencies on Friday and will continue into 2019, GM said.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Mary Barra, who came under fire from lawmakers for how the automaker disclosed the job cuts last month, said in a statement Friday that GM’s “focus remains on providing interested employees options to transition including job opportunities at other GM plants.”

GM shares rose 1.3 percent in trading Friday.

GM said in November it will cease production at five North American plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs. GM is ending production of a half dozen cars, citing slow-selling sedans as one reason for the need to restructure.

A big chunk of the job cuts include plans to trim 15 percent of GM’s North American salaried workforce by early next year.

GM said salaried workers who are losing their jobs are receiving “out-placement services including job search assistance, career counseling, resume writing and interview skills.”

GM, which announced in November it is ending production at its Oshawa assembly plant in Canada, said it is working with “dealers, local colleges and other employers to train and help secure jobs for impacted workers from the Oshawa Assembly Plant who are interested.”

Two U.S. senators earlier asked GM other questions on the layoff impacts, including how many jobs will be cut at suppliers as a result. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Stephen Coates and Jonathan Oatis)

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