DETROIT — General Motors confirmed thousands of internal salaried job cuts are starting Monday and expected to take several weeks to complete.
Pat Morrissey, a GM spokesman, said a "vast majority" of the layoffs — expected to be roughly 4,000 people — will be implemented in the next two weeks on a staff-by-staff, location-by-location basis. That's in line with what company sources told Automotive News, which first reported the timing, last week.
Two people briefed on the cuts told Reuters that GM is cutting hundreds of jobs at its information technology centers in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Michigan and more than 1,000 jobs at its Tech Center north of Detroit in Warren, Mich. GM is filing new required mass layoff notices with state agencies and disclosed the cuts to lawmakers.
"This is the implementation of the salaried actions announced late last year," GM said in an emailed statement. "Our focus now is on working with each individual employee on providing severance packages and transition support through job placement services."
GM's target for the layoffs was originally around 8,000 people. Through cuts to salaried contract workers and voluntary buyouts last year, the company was nearly halfway to that total prior to the internal layoffs.
Each employee, according to Morrissey, will be given a severance package based on their years of employment.
Those with 12 or more years of employment will be given the same package as the roughly 2,500 employees who participated in voluntary buyouts late last year, he confirmed. For executives that was equal to their pay for a year, while nonexecutives received six months' pay. Continuation of health care benefits also was part of the packages.
All employees who get cut will be offered job placement services and given access to companies that have expressed interest in possibly hiring them, GM said. The automaker said many Fortune 500 companies and other employers have expressed interest in hiring GM's laid-off employees.
"These companies are eager to begin the interview process and fill openings," the company said. "We will be providing that information to our employees through the job placement services."
The workforce reduction — targeted at 15 percent of its 54,000 salaried employees in North America including slashing global executives by 25 percent — was announced in conjunction with the potential closure of five plants in North America and two elsewhere.
The plants include the scheduled closure of Oshawa Assembly in Canada by year end and the potential closure of Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Michigan and two powertrain operations in Michigan and Maryland. Production is scheduled to end at the plants throughout the year.
GM, as part of its statement Monday, reiterated the reasoning and timing of the cuts: "These actions are necessary to secure the future of the company, including preserving thousands of jobs in the U.S. and globally. We are taking action now while the overall economy and job market are strong, increasing the ability of impacted employees to continue to advance in their careers, should they choose to do so."
GM expects the moves to contribute $6 billion in annual cash savings by 2020 — $4.5 billion in cost reductions and $1.5 billion in lower capital expenditures.
While Wall Street has praised the actions as proactive ahead of a potential industry downturn, the company has faced mounting pressure from the UAW, politicians and Canadian union Unifor, which launched a media campaign against the company.
GM is due to report its fourth-quarter and 2018 earnings results on Wednesday.
As GM makes its cuts, its largest crosstown rival, Ford Motor Co., is preparing to cut an undetermined number of its 70,000 salaried workers globally under an $11 billion companywide restructuring led by CEO Jim Hackett.
Reuters contributed to this report.