General Motors will lay off 814 hourly and salaried workers at its assembly plant on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan, starting 28 February.

Workers will be relocated and the plant will be retooled for a new line of electric vehicles to start production in 2021.

A Detroit Free Press report said the had been originally slated to close altogether but GM decided to keep it open to make electric vehicles in an agreement negotiated as part of a new contract with the United Auto Workers union.

The automaker provided notice of the layoffs Tuesday in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the state. 

The about 753 affected UAW-represented employees will remain employed and be offered buyouts or jobs at other GM facilities, GM spokesman Dan Flores told the 'Freep'.

"As previously announced, production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly will be complete in early 2020," said Flores. "We have job opportunities for all D-Ham team members covered by the UAW-GM National Agreement. We expect to have opportunities in Michigan and Ohio."

Flores said GM would have more specific details after it finishes a buyout programme at the plant. GM will begin making the job offers to Detroit-Hamtramck employees beginning in January, when Cadillac CT6 sedan production will be completed. Impala production will continue until 28 February. 

About 31 hourly and three salaried workers will be laid off 20 March, with two hourly employees to be laid off 27 March and another two hourly workers laid off 3 April, the WARN letter stated. 

In November 2018, GM had slated the plant, which made the Chevrolet Volt electric car, to be one of four US plants it planned to close.

But in the new four-year contract with the UAW, GM said Detroit-Hamtramck would remain open to produce an electric pickup and a 'van', which is a generic term for a variety of body styles including SUVs, according to Detroit Free Press sources familiar with the deal.

The company pledged to invest US$3bn in the plant and said it would eventually employ 2,225 people.

GM plans to build the new group of premium electric vehicles at Detroit-Hamtramck beginning in late 2021, a Freep source familiar with the plans said. That includes possibly reviving the long-gone Hummer brand.

The electric truck programme was dubbed BT1, according to Reuters.

GM promised a broad $7.7bn investment in its US plants over the next four years under the new labour deal ratified in October.

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