Ford Cuts A Third Of Salaried Workforce, Closes More Plants

Ford Motor Co. said Sept. 15 it plans to cut a third of its salaried workforce, or 14,000 jobs, and close more plants as it accelerates its restructuring plan in the face of massive losses. Four thousand of the 14,000 jobs targeted have already been eliminated, the company said.

Ford will now close 16 facilities in North America, up from the 14 facilities slated from closure in January, and will close those plants by 2008 instead of 2012.

The automaker did not say how many union jobs will be affected by the additional closures, however it has reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers to offer buyout packages to all 75,000 blue-collar workers.

The original plan called for the elimination of 30,000 union jobs. About 6,500 union members have already accepted buyouts and 4,000 white-collar workers had previously been laid off.

"The steps we are announcing today are clearly needed to ensure the ultimate turnaround of the business in Ford's biggest and most important market," Ford's new chief executive Alan Mulally said in a statement.

"Turnarounds of this magnitude succeed when capacity and costs are aligned with a realistic expectation of demand," Mulally continued. "These actions are certainly consistent with that goal."

Ford also delayed its forecast of when automotive operations will return to profitability to 2009 from the previous forecast of profitability by 2008. It will suspend dividend payments in the fourth quarter of this year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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