Ford Motor Co. isn't allowing about 2,000 white-collar employees who recently took voluntary buyouts to leave until later in the year because they hold "business-critical" positions.
The company said in September that it would cut the equivalent of 14,000 salaried positions over the course of 2006 and 2007, with most of the affected employees leaving by the end of the first quarter of 2007. On Monday, Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said the auto maker needs some of the employees who took voluntary packages to stay longer because of the nature of their jobs.
Those employees are now expected to leave Ford by the end of the year, Evans said. Between 5,000 and 6,000 white-collar workers left Ford in the first quarter, she said. The company will detail specific attrition numbers when it releases first-quarter results.
Ford cut between 4,000 and 5,000 white-collar jobs in 2005. In total, the company aimed to slash approximately one-third of its North American salaried work force through the attrition plan.
Evans said it is premature to say whether the auto maker will need to make involuntary cuts in order to meet white-collar attrition goals.
Ford is aiming to reduce the size of its North American operation in order to better cope with falling market share in the United States. In 2006, the company unveiled its "Way Forward" plan that aims to cut considerable costs through plant closures and company wide job cuts. The aim of the plan is to reach profitability by 2009.
The auto maker lost a record $12.6 billion in 2006, and said last month its Way Forward restructuring effort will cost $11.2 billion. The bulk of the restructuring costs were absorbed in 2006.
Shares of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford slipped 2 cents to close Monday at $7.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.