Page last updated at 19:09 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 20:09 UK

GM cuts hourly workforce by 6,000

GM sign
GM is seeking to reduce its workforce

Some 6,000 hourly workers at General Motors have left the firm as it seeks to cut costs and streamline operations.

Most of those leaving - around 65% - took early retirement while some 30% accepted buyouts from the firm.

The latest round of departures leaves GM with 48,000 US factory workers. It aims to have 40,500 such workers at the end of this year.

GM emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early July, 61% government-owned and with only four brands.

Since 2006, more than half the factory workforce - around 66,000 of GM's hourly workers - have opted for early retirement or buyouts.

Diana Tremblay, vice president of labour relations, said: "Results of this special attrition programme will help GM lower its employment cost and close the competitive gap."

In this latest round, of the 6,000 workers some 40% were skilled trades workers, with the rest working on the production side.

Some 7,000 GM workers accepted early retirement or buyout offers in March.

By reducing the workforce the car firm aims to operate the factories that are left at full capacity - a more efficient use of its resources.

GM has seen its share of the US car market shrink as it faces stiff competition from rivals, with Japanese car firms making more efficient models that require less fuel.



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