GM Fires Its Venezuelan Workforce, Many by Text, as It Flees Country

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm fires its venezuelan workforce many by text as it flees country

Last week, General Motors’ long-idled Venezuela assembly plant fell into the hands of the country’s autocratic government, sparking the automaker’s exit from the strife-ridden nation.

With its material assets out of its hands, the automaker’s Venezuelan subsidiary jettisoned the plant’s entire 2,700-person workforce today, Reuters reports. It did so in as abrupt a manner as the takeover itself. Meanwhile, the government wants to chat.

According to one longtime employee, his company email account was deactivated over the weekend. Today, he told Reuters that, “We all received a payment and a text message.”

That story was the same for another worker, who claimed, “Our former bosses told us the executives left and we were all fired. There is no longer anyone in the country.”

The plant hadn’t produced a vehicle since 2015, given the country’s dire economic situation. At the time of the seizure, local media claimed the takeover stemmed from a 17-year-old lawsuit over nullified contracts with Chevrolet dealers in the city of Maracaibo. In response, GM stated it would cease operations there immediately.

One report stated one of the plant’s unions had taken over the plant weeks before the facility fell into government hands, with company officials barred from entering by union members.

Now, it seems that the country’s government would like the automaker to reconsider. According to Reuters, the government of Nicholas Maduro claims it doesn’t want to expropriate the 35-year-old facility, and would like GM to return.

“To the current General Motors president of Venezuela, Jose Cavaileri: You come here, show your face and share with us the options to restore normality,” Labor Minister Francisco Torrealba said today.

Based on GM’s actions and the fact that neither it, nor any other automaker, has been able to build or sell vehicles in any appreciable quantity in the country in recent years, the outlook for an agreement doesn’t look good. GM previously stated it would pursue all legal options to defend its rights.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Apr 25, 2017

    Another Participant medal for socialism. But by all means keep trying. I'm sure we'll find our perfect, iron-fisted, spirit-crushing utopia someday.

  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Apr 25, 2017

    Wasn't that plant already idled last year, and only running a skeleton crew since 2014?

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.