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GM WILL IDLE 4.3-LITER LINE AT TONAWANDA

General Motor Corp.'s Tonawanda Engine Plant will stop making six-cylinder, 4.3-liter engines Monday until Jan. 2, largely in response to a lack of demand for the small trucks in which many of the engines are used.

The decision means that approximately 500 workers will be furloughed for two weeks before the entire complex is shut down for the holidays on Dec. 22. That will bring the total number of new temporary layoffs announced this week to nearly 700.

The total number of furloughed area plant workers as a result of the current slump in auto sales is likely to approach 2,000 next week, depending on manning decisions expected to be made today and Friday.

Sources at the engine plant said that the 3.1-liter engine line also may be shut down early, but no definite decision has been made.

Layoff notices for next week also have been posted at the Saginaw Division forge plant adjacent to the engine plant. A spokeswoman said 143 workers will be furloughed Monday. On Dec. 17 the number of furloughed workers will rise to 227.

The workers are scheduled to return to work on Jan. 2. The plant employs 602 hourly paid workers.

At the Saginaw Axle Plant in Buffalo, 285 workers remain on furlough into early January. The line making linkage parts will shut down Dec. 17 for the rest of the year. The axle-making lines will go to one shift on Dec. 10.

Approximately 40 employees are expected to be furloughed at the Ford Motor Co.'s Woodlawn Stamping Plant in addition to the 173 workers put on indefinite layoff last week and the 155 previously furloughed until Jan. 2.

A total of 381 workers currently are on furlough at GM's Harrison Division complex in Lockport. A decision is expected to be announced today or Friday on how many workers will be furloughed next week.

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