Employees work inside a General Motors plant. Picture: REUTERS
Employees work inside a General Motors plant. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — General Motors (GM) on Friday said it is beginning to send formal notices to US government agencies of its plan to close automotive plants and cut thousands of jobs as it shrinks passenger car production in North America.

The largest US vehicle maker said 2,800 hourly active US workers at four US 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.

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

With normal attrition rates, a GM spokesperson said the company is confident that all impacted 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 lay-off and plant-closure notices will begin going to government agencies on Friday and will continue into 2019, GM said.

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

GM said in November that it will close five North American assembly plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs. GM is ending production of half a 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% of GM’s North American salaried workforce by early 2019. GM said salaried workers who are losing their jobs are receiving “out-placement services, including job search assistance, career counseling, resumé 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”.