GM to cut U.S. engineering staff-report
DETROIT, Mar 24 (Reuters) General Motors Corp. will announce job cuts at its U.S. engineering operations next week, the Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday, a day after the automaker announced it would offer sweeping buyouts to all hourly workers in a bid to cut its payroll and pension costs.
The newspaper also said the world's largest automaker, which lost .6 billion in 2005, will announce engineering job cuts in Europe, but GM denied any new cuts there.
''We went through our restructuring last year. We continue to build momentum and improve our productivity, even within the engineering organisation,'' a spokesman for General Motors Europe in Zurich said.
''There is no new programme (to cut jobs), and any comments to the contrary are misrepresentative of the reality,'' he added.
GM Europe is in the process of cutting headcount by nearly a fifth to restore profits in a region where it last made money in 1999.
The paper quoted unidentified engineers and a GM executive as saying engineering job cuts would be announced on Tuesday.
''There will be a right-sizing of the U.S. and European vehicle engineering groups,'' the newspaper quoted a GM executive as saying.
''Where there's duplication of engineering among North America, Europe and South America, you can eliminate it and reduce the number of people involved.'' The GM Europe spokesman said U.S. reductions were part of previously announced efforts to trim white-collar staff, but he would not say whether any further U.S. job cuts would emerge next Tuesday.
A GM spokesman in the United States said the article is ''speculative.'' ''We did announce we would be reducing our salaried staffing levels by about 7 per cent in 2006 and we have nothing to announce today relative to that,'' Robert Herta said, referring to a North American restructuring plan the automaker announced in November.
As part of that plan, GM will cut 30,000 blue-collar jobs through 2008 and close 12 North American plants to stem losses and adjust to a long-running decline in its U.S. market share.
The report comes a day after GM offered more than 125,000 workers early retirement packages as it tries to shrink and become profitable amid high labour and commodities costs.
REUTERS SD PM1702