Slow SUV and pickup truck sales have forced General Motors to eliminate one shift each at four of their North American factories. As a result, about 3,500 GM workers will be laid-off.
GM said Monday that the cuts were brought on by weak demand due to high gas prices and an economic downturn. The lay-offs will take effect starting this summer.
GM will make about 50,000 less large SUV’s and 88,000 less pickups in 2008 as a result of the cuts.
"With rising fuel prices, a softening economy and a downward trend on current and future market demand for full-size trucks, a significant adjustment was needed to align our production with market realities," GM North America President Troy Clarke said in a statement.
Pickup factories in Flint and Pontiac, Mich. and Oshawa, Ontario will be affected by the lay-offs. Also affected will be a full-size SUV plant in Janesville, Wis. The Flint, Pontiac and Oshawa plants make the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, while Janesville manufactures the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon SUV’s.
USA Today reports that the lay-offs represent a little more than 4 percent of GM’s hourly manufacturing workforce of about 80,000 in North America. Workers will get unemployment benefits and supplemental pay that total 80 percent of their normal 40-hour gross pay, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.