Ford falling short of 2008 buyout goals

Like the other major domestic automakers, Ford is in the midst of restructuring its North American operations. As we have learned over the years, "˜restructuring' is pretty much synonymous with "˜job cuts', which happens to be the case with Ford. However, unlike its first round of buyouts in 2006, Ford is finding the goings much more difficult with its second round of North American buyouts.

The terms of Ford's buyouts remain the same, but the Blue Oval is finding it much more difficult to find eligible employees to accept the deal. In 2006, about 34,000 workers accepted buyout or early retirement deals. Thus far through 2008, only 4,000 workers have accepted Ford's offer.

While the terms of the packages remain the same, the North American economy has changed quite a bit over the last two years. People are wanting to hold onto their jobs in today's economic climate, making Ford's job cut targets all that much more difficult.

However, Ford is warning eligible employees that they might not be making that much more on the job than in retirement because of Ford's cutback of overtime hours. "We make it clear to people they are capped at 40 hours instead of sometimes 60, especially retirement-eligible employees," Joe Hinrichs, Ford group vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs, told Automotive News. "We've had a massive reduction in overtime."

According to Automotive News, Ford is targeting about 8,000 job cuts in 2008. Since 2005, Ford has slashed its North American workforce from 135,700 employees to about 84,700.