GM to cut U.S. work force again in 2005

/ Source: The Associated Press

General Motors Corp. plans to reduce its U.S. work force by about 7 percent for a fourth consecutive year in 2005, chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said.

That means about 8,000 hourly and salaried positions at the world's largest automaker will be eliminated through attrition and retirement over the next 12 months.

Struggling to trim costs in the face of rising health care expenses and other factors, GM each year since 2002 has cut about 2 percent to 3 percent of its salaried work force, 5 percent to 6 percent of its hourly work force and about 10 percent of its contractors.

"That's about what it was in 2004. We're not exactly sure about 2005, but we don't think it will be any different than last year, or what it has been in 2002, 2003 and 2004," Wagoner told the Detroit Free Press during an interview Sunday at the North American International Auto Show.

GM had about 198,000 hourly and salaried workers in the United States in 2000 and now has 153,000.

The company announced last month that it plans to offer another round of early retirement offers and buyout packages to an undetermined number of its 38,000 U.S. salaried workers early this year.