SAO PAULO General Motors Corp (GM.N) said on Thursday it would lay off more than 1,600 workers at one of its plants in Brazil and said it had put another 900 workers on paid leave for 30 days.
GM is one of several automakers in Brazil that are either placing factory workers on paid leave or cutting jobs in the face of an economic slowdown and credit crunch that have hit the auto industry especially hard.
The company said it started laying off the 1,633 workers on temporary contracts that will be let go at GM's plant in Sao Caetano do Sul on Thursday.
All of the 900 workers put on leave worked in the area of production, 300 at the Sao Caetano do Sul plant and 600 at GM's plant in Sao Jose dos Campos.
In January, GM cut 744 jobs at its Sao Jose dos Campos plant, where it employs about 8,900 workers, to adjust to slumping consumer demand.
Tax breaks helped Brazilian car sales in December and January but analysts continue to worry, with Brazil's economic growth expected to slow to 1.5 percent in 2009 from more than 5 percent last year.
The news comes as GM reported a $30.9 billion net loss for 2008 on Thursday.
(Reporting by Carmen Munari; Writing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)