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GM CEO to meet with U.S. lawmakers on layoff plans

Staff Writer |
General Motors (GM) chief executive officer Mary Barra will meet with U.S. lawmakers next week to discuss the company's plans to close five plants in North America next year and cut up to 14,000 jobs, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

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Citing two Congressional sources, Bloomberg said Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Gary Peters of Michigan, are among the lawmakers planning to meet with the GM CEO.

The Detroit-based auto giant announced on Monday that it would effectively close five assembly and propulsion plants in the United States and Canada in 2019, drawing harsh criticism in from both political parties. U.S. President Donald Trump, who had promised to bring jobs back to America, criticized the plan harshly.

"The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" the U.S. president tweeted on Tuesday, referring to a government bailout that saved the automaker from bankruptcy during the economic downturn in 2008.

The president also threatened to revoke government subsidies for the company, including for electric cars. He could be referring to the 7,500-U.S.-dollar tax breaks the U.S. federal government grants to consumers who buy electric vehicles.

In his speech before the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Argentina, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the plant closures by GM "a heavy blow." He said "it's all the more reason" why the tariffs on steel and aluminum should be removed.

In addition to a previously announced factory closure in South Korea, GM said it would also cease operations of another two unspecified plants outside North America by the end of 2019. The company estimated its reorganization plan, aimed to make the company more agile and flexible, will cut its salaried workforce by 15 percent and save as much as 6 billion U.S. dollars.