General Motors has announced that 15 employees have been fired from the company because of their actions related to the ignition switch recall.
Of those 15, over half of them are said to be senior executives or higher in the company. GM CEO Mary Barra wouldn’t comment on the identity of those fired, but did confirm that two engineers that were placed on paid leave earlier this year have now been let go from the company. There were also five employees who were disciplined as a result of their actions.
“Some were removed because of what we consider misconduct or incompetence, ” said Barra. “Others have been relieved because they simply didn’t do enough: They didn’t take responsibility; didn’t act with any sense of urgency.”
The results of an independent report undertaken by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas found that incompetence along with misdiagnosis were the main issues that resulted in the delayed recall, not a conspiracy to cover up facts by GM.
A problem with the ignition switch was apparent for 11 years and yet little was done to properly rectify the issue, a situation that Barra claims came about partly because employees didn’t speak up when they saw safety concerns.
Now, a new ‘speak up for safety’ program is being launched by GM to encourage employees to come forward with any knowledge of possible safety defects. New safety procedures are also being implemented so that these issues are brought up the ladder to senior management sooner.
“If you are aware of a potential problem affecting safety or quality and you don’t speak up, you are a part of the problem. And that is not acceptable,” Barra told a gathering of GM employees. “If you see a problem that you don’t believe is being handled properly, bring it to the attention of your supervisor. If you still don’t believe it’s being handled properly, contact me directly.”
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