GM Planning Jobs Cuts At Canadian Plant

Jan 31, 2017, 00:27

"This came right out of left field", said Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union.

The plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, makes the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain SUVs.

U.S. President Trump has told Mexico and Canada he wants to renegotiate NAFTA, or perhaps even scrap it.

While production of a new version of the better selling Equinox will stay in Canada, GM is shifting production of a new Terrain to a plant in San Luis Potosi.

Van Boekel says the layoffs were announced Friday morning and are directly linked to the company's decision to shift production of the Terrain to Mexico.

When asked whether layoffs were in the works at other Ontario facilities, a spokeswoman said that Friday's announcement related only to "an employment impact at CAMI due to the changeover of older model Equinoxes to the next-generation Equinox".

Trump's protectonist, America-first comments have caused concerns about whether Canada's automotive industry could take a hit, particularly if a border tax is implemented on Canadian goods.

"We've lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs as a result of NAFTA", Dias said.

On Tuesday Trump met with GM CEO Mary Barra, along with the heads of Ford and Fiat Chrysler to talk about bringing jobs back from Mexico.

There are 141,000 people employed in Canada's automotive sector, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

"It was emphasized to us that it had nothing to do with the Terrain moving to Mexico and certainly not with the [Donald] Trump movement..."

Trump has called NAFTA the worst trade deal the USA has ever signed.

"I'm shocked, it's an absolute embarrassment on behalf of GM", said Van Boekel. The news has taken its toll on morale, and employees - who for years had been working Saturdays to keep up with demand - are furious, he said.

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