Delphi Corp., General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers union reach an agreement on a special hourly worker attrition plan designed to reduce the employee headcount and ease the reorganization of the bankrupt supplier and struggling auto maker.

The proposed plan, subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval April 7, includes normal and early retirement incentives for U.S. hourly employees at Delphi and GM. Up to 5,000 UAW-represented Delphi employees also will be eligible to transfer back to and retire from GM through Sept. 2007, Delphi says.

About 13,000 UAW-represented employees will be eligible to participate in the plan, which is only a small part of the far-reaching labor restructuring Delphi is seeking as it emerges from Chapter 11 protection.

“The agreement will enhance the prospects for GM, the UAW and Delphi to reach a broad-based consensual resolution of the Delphi restructuring,” GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner says.

Under the deal, GM agrees to cover lump sum payments of approximately $35,000 to be paid to eligible Delphi employees accepting normal or voluntary retirement incentives. The auto maker also says it will assume certain post-retirement employee benefit obligations related to the flow-back of Delphi employees to former parent GM.

Motions seeking approval for the deal, along with similar plans for the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers-Communications Workers of America, United Steel Workers and other represented hourly employees, will be filed with the U.S. bankruptcy Court later today, Delphi says.

GM expects to record the associated costs of the programs this year.

Delphi says it remains committed to achieving a comprehensive labor agreement with GM and the UAW no later than March 30, with the supplier threatening to ask the court to void existing labor contracts March 31 if a deal is not reached.

msutton@wardsauto.com