updated 1/21/2005 12:03:00 PM ET 2005-01-21T17:03:00

Roughly 5,600 German employees of General Motors Corp. have agreed to accept buyouts offered as part of the world’s biggest automaker’s efforts to slash jobs in Europe, a labor official said Friday.

GM announced plans last year it would cut as many as 10,000 jobs at the Adam Opel AG unit in Germany, in an attempt to return the struggling company to profitability.

Workers who have agreed to take advantage of GM’s buyout offer, which includes retraining and job placement, are still waiting for contracts to be drawn up, said Klaus Franz, Opel’s chief worker representative.

Any undecided workers will have until Jan. 31 to sign an agreement, said Franz. A meeting between company heads and worker representatives to discuss the next step is scheduled for late February.

But Franz expressed confident the buyout offer would prevent the need for any further measures.

“I am confident that we will be able to meet the desired reductions in staff without job cuts,” said Franz.

GM also plans to cut 15 percent of management jobs in Europe in an effort to produce cost savings of 500 million euros ($665 million) a year.

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