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GM signs off on 7,500 of US staff

GENERAL Motors Corp said on Thursday that 7,500 workers represented by the United Auto Workers union -- about 12 percent of its United States factory workforce -- had accepted buyout offers to leave the struggling vehicle manufacturer's payroll.

About 90 percent of the workers who took the buyout of US$20,000 cash and a US$25,000 vehicle voucher were eligible to immediately retire, GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said.

The announcement came less than a week before GM and its smaller rival Chrysler LLC are due to hear back from US officials about requests for additional emergency loans to help them ride out the weakest car sales in three decades.

Both car makers have won pending contract changes from the UAW intended to help them cut costs to compete with Japanese car makers operating plants in the US.

GM and Chrysler are both also still working to complete related deals with the UAW that would allow them to pay the union in stock rather than cash for remaining obligations to a trust fund for retiree health care.

Separately, Chrysler said it was extending the deadline for its UAW workers to accept buyouts and early retirement incentives for the second time since the program was offered in early February.

Chrysler, which is owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, declined to detail how many UAW-represented workers had taken its buyout offer so far.


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