Mumbai: General Motors Corp has offered retirement option to about 19,000 of its blue-collar workers in the US while the other Detroit major Ford Motor Co said it was finalising plans for elimination of 12 per cent of its US salaried work force by August 2008.
General Motors said about 19,000 US factory workers - just over a quarter of its American blue-collar work force - had taken buyouts to leave the automaker.
While Ford's move is likely to cost over 2,000 white-collar jobs, reports said the company is also considering more voluntary layoffs of blue-collar workers.
GM, which is under increasing pressure to cut costs in the face of falling US sales and high gas prices, said nearly all of its 74,000-odd US factory workers are eligible for early retirement packages, intended to clear the way for lower-wage workers under a deal with the United Auto Workers union.
GM said the buyouts and early retirements, involving one-time payouts of up to $140,000, would be completed by 1 July.
UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said he expected fewer than 20,000 GM workers to accept buyouts, much lower than a similar offer GM made in 2006 for its union workers.
Over 34,000 GM workers accepted similar buyouts in 2006. while about 4,200 workers took buy-outs at Ford Motor Co.
GM, like the other two Detroit-based automakers, had reached an agreement with the UAW that allows it to hire new workers for some jobs starting at $14 per hour - about half the current average hourly wage.
GM said it would fill openings with existing workers, but at lower rates.
Ford Motor Co chief executive officer Alan Mulally said the management will soon decide on the number of salaried workers the company must lay off, adding it could slash more than 10 per cent of the 24,300 white-collar jobs in North America.