In Michigan
3:41 am
Mon April 20, 2009

GM exec says 1,600 will lose jobs in next few days

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

A top General Motors Corp. executive says 1,600 workers will lose their jobs during the next few days as the automaker tries to cut costs and restructure to stay in business.

GM North America President Troy Clarke says in an e-mail to workers obtained by The Associated Press that the layoffs are needed to ensure GM's long-term viability.

Last month GM began cutting 3,400 U.S. salaried jobs as part of the 47,000 job cuts that it will make worldwide by year's end.

GM is living on $13.4 billion in government loans and faces a June 1 deadline to cut costs and gain concessions from stakeholders in order to get more government help. It may be forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers is urging members to lobby the Obama administration for support as the union continues negotiations with troubled automakers General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

The UAW is facing the prospect of deeper wage and benefit cuts so that the automakers can satisfy the government's demands for more cost cuts and get more federal aid.

In an e-mail Monday, the union urged members to call the White House and "insist that workers and retirees must be treated in a fair and equitable manner in any restructuring plans."

Chrysler has until the end of April to arrange a tie-up with Italian automaker Fiat SpA and get deeper concessions from its debtholders and the UAW. GM has until June 1 to work out deals with its stakeholders.