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GM to begin seeking key concessions soon

DETROIT, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp. has scheduled key negotiations this week to begin the process of proving it can reshape itself into a profitable company.

Formal talks with the United Auto Workers, creditors and auto dealers are scheduled to push changes mandated by the federal government, which loaned GM and Chrysler LLC a combined $17.4 billion, The Detroit News reported Monday.

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GM's plan includes cutting 31,000 jobs, closing nine plants and up to 1,750 dealerships, which could be a costly undertaking.

GM also needs to swap debt for equity to raise capital.

GM is expected to ask union workers to accept pay equal to what foreign companies pay by the end of 2009, a move the UAW has resisted.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said terms of the loan "single out members of our union, by demanding steeper and faster concessions from the UAW than from any other part of the industry."

Closing dealerships can be expensive. Settling with dealers cost about $1 billion when the company phased out the Oldsmobile brand, the News said.

GM must submit a report to Congress that charts progress towards long-term sustainability by Feb 17, the report said.

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