Heart-wrenching photos show General Motors workers wiping tears away after the company laid more than 14,000 people off without warning and just before the holidays.
In a massive restructuring, the auto giant announced Monday that it will cut 15 per cent of its workforce to save $6billion and adapt to ‘changing market conditions’.
‘You’re going right into Christmas. You’re looking for celebration and that’s not there now,’ on GM worker told Today.
Another employee said through tears: ‘I’m just kind of hurting right now.’
One worker spoke of a workplace where people ‘were bawling their eyes out. I’ve never seen anything like it and we can’t get any answers’.
The moves include shuttering seven plants worldwide as the company responds to changing customer preferences and focuses on popular trucks and SUVs and increasingly on electric models.
The job cuts from GM’s current 180,000-strong work force will be particularly stinging in politically crucial areas of Ohio and Michigan, a region President Donald Trump has promised to revive.
Workers at the Ontario plant staged a wildcat strike to protest the closure.
The job cuts will include a 25 per cent reduction in executive-level employees to ‘streamline decision making,’ the company said.
According to reports, the five North American plants concerned employ nearly 7,000, including 3,000 workers in the Ontario plant.
One woman said that she worries for ‘all of the people who have put in so many years of their lives and they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow’.
As workers continue to demand answers from GM, the company’s CEO, Mary Barra, said in a statement: ‘The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future.
‘We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.’
Trump expressed dismay at the plan and said he was ‘very tough’ with Barra when they discussed the reorganization.
‘I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, “You know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there soon,”‘ he told reporters at the White House. ‘They better put something else in.’
Barra also met at the White House with Trump’s senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow, in what officials said was a previously scheduled meeting.
Trump’s aggressive trade policies have been aimed specifically at saving manufacturing jobs, including the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took aim at rules governing auto trade to favor the US industry.
Still, GM will shutter three North American auto assembly plants next year: the Oshawa plant in Ontario, Canada; Hamtramck in Detroit, Michigan and Lordstown in Warren, Ohio.
In addition, GM will close two US propulsion plants — which produce batteries and transmissions — in Baltimore, Maryland, and Warren, Michigan, as well two unidentified plants outside of North America.
The president threatened to punish GM following the company’s decision.
‘Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday while a televised White House press briefing was going on.