General Motors chairman & CEO Rick Wagoner said yesterday during CBS News’ Face the Nation that he does not expect a long-term strike at its top supplier, Delphi Corp.

Wagoner told CBS News that the automotive giant’s key strategy is to avoid a strike altogether by working with Delphi management and the unions to negotiate fair wages while continuing Delphi’s restructuring efforts.

Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy protection last October, recently announced plans to cut wages from nearly $27/hr. to $16.50/hr., a move that the UAW called “outrageous.” The union also noted that if the bankruptcy court rejects a UAW-Delphi contract and Delphi implements its planned wage structure, “it will be impossible to avoid a long strike.”

See Delphi strike threat casts shadow on trucking.

When CBS News asked Wagoner how long GM could run without Delphi he said: “We could run for a while. But we can’t run for a significant period of time. A long-term strike at Delphi would have huge ramifications for General Motors.”