GM offers $60,000 as factory job buyouts

GM has offered $60,000 to skilled trades workers who retire or leave the automaker’s payroll, spokesman Chris Lee said. The automaker currently has “a couple thousand” more skilled trade workers than it needs, Lee said.

The offer covers workers who had been hired at 14 US plants and runs until March. That could allow GM, the top US automaker, to book the charge for related payouts in its first quarter results.

The potential cuts to factory payrolls come as the U.S. auto industry emerges from a near-collapse in 2009 that sent both GM and Chrysler into U.S.-government funded bankruptcies.

GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co have all announced plans in recent weeks for limited hiring aimed at spot labor shortages as U.S. auto sales gradually recover.

The new auto jobs include factory hires at half the wage that established workers represented by the United Auto Workers currently make. Hiring also is targeted at white-collar workers in specialized fields such as battery engineering.

The latest round of targeted buyout and early retirement offers were made to UAW-represented workers in 14 U.S. plants, including the Orion, Michigan, assembly plant. That plant will build the new Chevrolet Sonic under a cost-cutting agreement negotiated by the UAW.

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