Published: Sat, October 14, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Canadian Union Says GM Warns of Production Shift to Mexico Over Strike

Canadian Union Says GM Warns of Production Shift to Mexico Over Strike

General Motors Canada says it wants to reach an agreement with 2,800 of its striking workers in Ontario - but the automaker giant says global and domestic trade talks keep getting in the way.

Negotiators explained to the union that the cost of continuing the month-long strike would mean losing more business to Mexico, which has already been filling Canadian production gaps since before the strike began.

"They said they're going to ramp up production at their Mexican operations to satisfy the American and Canadian markets", said Mr. Dias.

About 2,500 workers at the plant west of Toronto went on strike September 17. The sides returned to the bargaining table days later but since then have been in a stalemate. They're demanding GM designate the Ingersoll plant as North America's lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox.

The CAMI plant was projected to build about 210 000 vehicles in 2018, while two plants in Mexico together were projected to build about 150 000 vehicles next year, according to AutoForecast Solutions, a forecasting firm. It has invested $800 million at the Ingersoll plant to make a new version of the Equinox, he said.

Earlier this month, Dias called the strike the "poster child with what's wrong with the North American Free Trade Agreement" - the policy now being renegotiated by Canada, the USA and Mexico.

The source from GM says, production in Mexico is "steady" for now.

Unifor president Jerry Dias addresses a strike rally at the CAMI assembly plant in September. "It's all about money".

The union also objected to GM's decision to lay off 600 CAMI workers as it phased out production of the last-generation GMC Terrain SUV, and launched production of new generation Terrain models along with the Equinox in Mexico. Union leaders are anxious about job security amid the threat that more work could be taken from the plant, which is among GM's busiest in North America.

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