GM offered employees buyouts before layoff announcement: Report

U.S. automaker General Motors announced this week it plans to cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce, though some of those employees were given the option of taking a voluntary buyout from the company ahead of the announcement.

According to internal documents reviewed by CNBC, more than 17,000 employees with at least 12 years of experience were given the option last month to leave their jobs with benefits and salaries temporarily intact.

The company was aiming to secure 8,000 voluntary buyouts, according to the memo, though only about 2,250 workers agreed to the deal by the November deadline.

Those rank and file employees will be able to leave the company as early as Saturday, while being paid and covered under the company’s benefits for six months. More senior executives will be permitted to accept a buyout through the end of February, while payment continues for a year.

GM will lay off 5,570 salaried staff members, in addition to 6,000 hourly workers, CNBC reported.

A spokesperson for General Motors declined to confirm, or verify, the report.

This week, the automaker said it would cease operations at five North American factories, in addition to eliminating 15 percent of its workforce – an effort to cut costs as it undergoes a restructuring process. The company will also cease production of six vehicles including the Chevy Cruze.

GM’s announcement has sparked backlash from President Trump, who threatened to cut subsidies given to the automaker, as well as slap tariffs on all auto imports.