General Motors says it is optimistic this year’s pay negotiations with its unionised workforce in the United States will be concluded without drama.

The US automaker recently shared some of its bumper profits of US$4.7bn with its employees, but negotions with the United Auto Workers (UAW) are due next summer.

“I would describe our discussions with the UAW as constructive and realistic,” GM CEO Dan Akerson told just-auto in Geneva. “They and we recognise we are not going to be successful unless we both go forward arm in arm.”

Akerson added he met “routinely” with senior UAW management although the union recently declined to elaborate to just-auto what its position was on the 2011 wage round.

“I hope the negotiations will come and go with no real notice and no real drama,” said Akerson. “We have established a very productive dialogue.

“Time will tell. I am very confident and optimistic about this year’s negotiations.”

GM said recently its strong business results were expected to generate upwards of US$4,000 per employee for the GM plan and US$3,000 for staff of the GM Component Holdings plan. The automaker has 45,000 eligible employees.