SAO PAULO, July 24 General Motors Co
wants to put nearly a fifth of its workers at a factory in
Brazil on paid leave, an auto workers union said on Thursday,
amid falling output in Latin America's largest economy.
Calling the move "unnecessary," the union said 1,000 of
5,200 workers in São José dos Campos, Sao Paulo state, could be
laid off. Workers and the Detroit-based auto maker will likely
discuss the proposal on Aug. 1, a union leader said.
Brazil's production of cars, trucks and buses is expected to
have its steepest decline in 16 years at 10.0 percent in 2014 as
sales retreat 5.4 percent, according to national automakers'
Reducing the workforce is one of automakers' few ways of
protecting profits as new factories, weak demand and evaporating
exports to Argentina batter profit margins in a market that for
years had stood out amid meager global growth.
General Motors put 940 workers at the same factory on paid
leave in 2012, and the union said 598 of them were later fired.
The factory produced models that have been discontinued, like
Meriva and Zarifa, and now makes S-10 trucks and motors.
Germany's Volkswagen put 900 workers in Brazil
on paid leave in May and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen
started a voluntary leave program for workers in Rio de Janeiro
state that same month.
(Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Caroline
Stauffer; Editing by Bernard Orr)