GE said it expects the moves to cut as much as $8 billion in debts. File Photo by Urs FlueelerEPA-EFE
Oct. 7 (UPI) — General Electric announced Monday it will freeze pension plans for some 20,000 U.S. workers with salaried benefits, along with the supplementary pensions of 700 others as a measure to cut billions of dollars in debts.

The move will cut GE’s pension deficit by as much as $8 million, the company said. GE said the freezes will become effective in 2021.

The company and its finance component had borrowed about $106 billion as of June 30, and GE said it also would offer a limited time lump-sum payment option to 100,000 eligible former employees who have not started to receive a monthly pension payment.

“Returning GE to a position of strength has required us to make several difficult decisions, and today’s decision to freeze the pension is no exception,” Kevin Cox, chief human resources officer at GE, said.

“We carefully weighed market trends and our strategic priority to improve our financial position with the impact to our employees. We are committed to helping our employees through this transition.”

A private investigative report in August accused the company of fraudulent activities connected with its insurance business totaling $38 billion. GE Director Leslie Seidman said at the time the report contained “numerous novel interpretations and downright mistakes.”

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