GM cuts 327  jobs at plants in Rayong

GM cuts 327  jobs at plants in Rayong

GM Thailand formerly made the Captiva SUV in Rayong. Now the model is assembled in Indonesia.
GM Thailand formerly made the Captiva SUV in Rayong. Now the model is assembled in Indonesia.

General Motors Thailand, the local car production unit of the US parent, has cut a further 327 jobs at its Rayong plants as part of a plan to reduce operating costs and slim down the manufacturing facility.

There was widespread news on social media on Thursday that GM Thailand laid off both regular and contract workforce by sending letters to employees on Wednesday.

Of the total cuts, 141 were regular employees. The dismissals took effect from Thursday.

According to the letter, the company said it has proceeded with a reorganisation plan since late 2017 but continued to suffer a declining financial performance.

GM Thailand needs to manage operating costs and cut its manpower expenses for manufacturing, the letter said.

Each employee will receive severance pay based on the employment period, plus one month's salary.

A source familiar with the matter told the Bangkok Post that the plan is not a regional restructuring by GM, but rather the local company needs to adjust its manpower costs to be competitive under the current environment.

"The reduction in headcount is similar to other car makers operating in Thailand," the source said.

GM Thailand submitted a statement to the media that the company remains committed to the local operation but needs to be more efficient.

"The operation in Thailand will not change focus, with GM producing pickups, sport utility vehicles and diesel engines in Rayong for domestic and international sales," GM Thailand said.

GM entered Thailand in January 2000, later establishing two manufacturing facilities at Rayong's WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate -- a vehicle assembly plant with annual production capacity for 180,000 units and a powertrain plant with annual capacity for 120,000 units -- with a combined investment of US$1.4 billion.

GM has 1,900 employees in the country, with 1,200 at manufacturing sites. The cars are built under the Chevrolet and Holden nameplates.

The local plant formerly produced Chevrolet passenger cars, but that line was cancelled after GM announced its Southeast Asian restructuring in February 2015.

Under the restructuring plan, 749 jobs were axed at the Rayong plant, according to the GM Workers Union Thailand.

Chevrolet Sales Thailand is GM's local arm in charge of sales. It posted sales for the first seven months of 9,221 cars, down 10.8% year-on-year, largely consisting of the Colorado and Trailblazer models.

Chevrolet plans to launch the new Captiva sport utility vehicle in September, but the model is assembled in Indonesia.

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