About 15%, or 107 employees, of Mazda's U.S. headquarters staff have accepted voluntary buyouts as part of the company’s restructuring plan. Documents submitted to the California state officials indicate that the employees will be released on July 2. The job cuts were confirmed by Mazda spokesman Jay Amestoy.
In early March, all 701 workers of Mazda’s U.S. employees were offered voluntary buyouts. Included in the offers are their separation pay, a lump-sum payment depending on years of service and assistance to find a new job. Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, sent a memo to employees last March 7.
He informed employees that Mazda is faced with an “extremely challenging business environment” and so it had to reexamine its business to hasten “further cost improvements."
In the fiscal year that ended March 31, Mazda's operating losses in North America increased to 40.3 billion yen (equivalent to $505 million at current exchange rates). During the previous fiscal year, Mazda recorded a 31.7 billion yen operating loss, or $397 million. To coincide with the job cuts, Mazda’s business structure in the U.S. is also being reorganized.
This new organization is slated to begin on May 16. O’Sullivan also wrote that involuntary layoffs will follow the buyouts if Mazda doesn’t succeed in reaching its cost-cutting targets with the voluntary buyouts.
According to Mazda spokesman Jay Amestoy, it’s not clear if the involuntary layoffs are necessary. He thinks that the reorganization has to be completed first. If more layoffs take place, Mazda will start to notify affected employees on May 29. The memo stated that these employees will work until August 3. [source: Autonews]