GM may face political pressure from White House after layoff announcement

GM may face political pressure from White House after layoff announcement

Agency News

WASHINGTON, Nov 26: US automaker General Motors (GM) announced Monday it will halt production in five North American plants and cut over 14,000 jobs next year, a decision that drew immediate criticism from the White House.

Shortly after the announcement, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that he was "not happy" with it, and top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow was scheduled to meet GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra on Monday.

"You know, the United States saved General Motors. For her to take that company out of Ohio is not good. I think she is going to put something back in soon," Trump said on Monday afternoon at the White House lawn. He was referring to the 2008 government bailout that saved GM from bankruptcy.

GM said in a press release that five of its assembly and propulsion plants in Detroit, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan and Ontario, Canada would be "unallocated" in 2019. It also plans to cut 15 percent of its salaried workers, which trims down the number of its executive ranks by 25 percent.

The cuts amount to more than 14,000 jobs in all, some 8,100 white-collar positions and more than 6,000 factory jobs, according to GM. The company also plans to close two plants outside North America by the end of 2019, the specificity of which it didn't disclose in the statement.

The company avoided using the word closure or shutdown in its statement since that, according to GM spokeswoman Stephanie Rice, may involve negotiations with United Automobile Union, a powerful labor union representing workers in the United States and Canada.

The automaker estimated that the restructuring will save about 6 billion U.S. dollars a year by the end of 2020. "These actions will increase the long-term profit and cash generation potential of the company and improve resilience through the cycle," Barra said in the statement.

Trump has made revitalizing the U.S. automobile industry a centerpiece of his "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan, urging manufacturing companies to bring production back to the United States.

"I was very tough. I spoke with her (Barra) when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors," the president said. (UNI-XINHUA)