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GM to lay off 1,600 white-collar workers

The job losses will bring GM close to its goal of cutting 3,400 salaried jobs in the U.S. by year's end.

April 21, 2009|Kendra Marr | Marr writes for the Washington Post.

WASHINGTON — General Motors Corp. plans to lay off about 1,600 white-collar workers over the next few days as the auto giant speeds its cost cutting to qualify for additional federal loans.

GM's North American president, Troy Clarke, sent an e-mail to employees Monday morning, telling them the reduction was necessary to ensure the company's survival. Targeted employees will be notified by Wednesday.

"In these unprecedented times, GM is reinventing every aspect of our business, including our organizational size and structure, to create a lean and agile company," Clarke wrote.

GM, which has received $13.4 billion in federal loans, is under immense pressure to cut operational costs and seek deeper stakeholder concessions by June 1 to win additional government aid. If the company cannot quickly restructure on its own, it could find itself at the mercy of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

This round of layoffs brings GM close to its goal of cutting 3,400 salaried jobs in the U.S. by year's end, GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

Last month, the company laid off 250 employees, and many left their jobs through normal attrition, Wilkinson said.

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