AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ Bridgestone-Firestone Inc. has given hundreds of workers nationwide until Jan. 31 to decide whether to vacate their jobs in a company cost-cutting move, a company spokesman said.

The company confirmed Monday that it has begun a voluntary program to reduce the number of white-collar employees.

Bridgestone-Firestone is the ninth-largest employer in Akron with 1,825 employees. After steady declines since 1977, the number of Firestone Akron workers has increased slightly the last two years.

Company spokesman Bob Troyer would not say whether there is a reduction goal. However, he said that Bridgestone-Firestone ''hoped'' the departures would alleviate the possible need for layoffs.

Troyer said salaried employees are being offered two weeks of pay for every year of service with the company.

An employee with 15 years of experience, for example, could receive 30 weeks of pay spread out over 30 weeks.

Firestone facilities included in the buyout program are in Akron and Brook Park, Ohio; Russellville, Ark.; Decatur, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Oklahoma City; Wilson, N.C.; and Noblesville, Ind.