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GM begins layoffs with 4,300 white-collar workers, mostly in U.S.

General Motors began involuntary layoffs on Monday in Detroit, with about 4,300 white-collar workers among those affected across North America.

Many Canadian workers took incentive package after GM announce major restructuring

General Motors began involuntary layoffs on Monday, weeks after first announcing cuts. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

General Motors began involuntary layoffs on Monday in Detroit, with about 4,300 white-collar workers among those affected across North America.

The automaker announced cuts in November, including the closure of its Oshawa, Ont., plant, in a move expected to save the GM billions of dollars and help it prepare for an expected slowdown of the U.S. automotive market during the next several years.

The automaker says it has largely completed salaried job cuts in Canada, and most of those threatened with layoff here have accepted an incentive package to leave.

The company said last October that it would offer buyouts to 18,000 workers with more than 12 years with the company across its North American operations as part of cost-cutting efforts.

GM Canada spokesperson Jennifer Wright declined to say how many jobs were eliminated or how many people may be laid off, sending a statement that read, "We expect to have a modest number of other salaried reductions completed shortly."

GM has a broader plan that will see three North American assembly plants and two component factories close by the end of 2019.

The company says 2,200 white-collar employees took buyouts and 1,500 contract workers were let go.

Many of the layoffs announced Monday will happen at GM's technical centre near Detroit. Most work on components for internal combustion engines and discontinued car models.

GM Canada president Travis Hester has said the future of cars is electric, rather than internal combustion.

The company also announced Monday that more than 1,500 U.S. hourly or blue-collar employees have volunteered to transfer to other locations. Of those volunteers, more than 700 employees have been offered and accepted transfer opportunities at truck, SUV and crossover-related operations, GM said.

About 2,500 workers will be affected by the shutdown of the Oshawa plant. They are being offered job counselling. 

"This is about making sure that GM is lean and agile," CEO Mary Barra said in announcing the cuts Nov. 26.

With files from the Associated Press