Boeing Co will cut hundreds of jobs at a South Carolina plant that makes 787 Dreamliners over the course of this year, but the move has nothing to do with the recent grounding of the troubled jetliner, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The plan to cut workers is not uncommon as productivity improves on a new airplane program and was conceived before major problems with the 787s battery surfaced, the Journal said. Two high-profile battery malfunctions led to international aviation regulators grounding the jet in mid-January.

The cuts could account for up to 20 percent of the workforce in some teams at the plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, the Journal reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the plan. Overall, the plant employs more than 6,000 people.

Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The South Carolina plant is the second Boeing facility where 787s are assembled after the larger Everett, Washington, plant north of Seattle. Between them, Boeing turns out five Dreamliners per month.

So far, the plane maker has said production has not been slowed by the grounding of the 787 and it aims to fulfill its plan to ramp up to 10 787s per month by the end of 2013.

(Reporting By Bill Rigby. Editing by Andre Grenon)