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GM threatens wind down of striking SUV plant

13 October 2017

The Canadian union leading a month-long strike at a General Motors Co plant in Ontario is refusing to make concessions to settle the matter, even after the US automaker threatened to move all production to Mexico. This move is said to have resulted in 600 layoffs, and left the southwest Ontario plant with nothing to make but the Equinox which it also shares with Mexico.

The strike has been fuelled by union opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

GM now builds the popular Equinox at three North American facilities: the CAMI plant, and two Mexican plants.

"This is a callous and heartless attitude for General Motors to take toward a community that has worked so hard to build its top-selling vehicles", Dias said in a Thursday Unifor news release.

The union, called Unifor, will not withdraw its demand that the largest USA automaker pledge to keep Equinox production in Canada, said Unifor President Jerry Dias said on Thursday. Dias told the Associated Press that GM has threatened to make more of the Equinoxs in Mexico as the Canadian strike continues.

GM Canada was not available for comment.

"We'd really like to urge the parties to find a resolution to this as quickly as possible, before permanent damage is done".

Mr. Dias said the union wants GM to designate CAMI as its primary North American factory for the Equinox, a compact crossover SUV and GM's No. 2 vehicle by US sales volume. This could be the path of least resistance.

The union's national president Jerry Dias said on Thursday that GM representatives told the bargaining committee that the automaker is ramping up production of the Equinox at two plants in Mexico.

Canada must discuss the issue with the United States and develop a strategy to stem the "influx" of vehicles from Mexico, Dias told reporters in Washington. At the same time, the source points out GM has invested $800 million in the Ingersoll plant implying that should speak to the company's commitment to its workers. The company now has two plants in Mexico that build the Equinox.

Canadian auto parts producer Magna International Inc suspended its supply of parts to the CAMI plant on September 20, which it said affected the output of "a few" Magna plants in Ontario.

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. "GM is turning its back on the entire community. The answer is absolutely yes". With a shrinking 41-day supply of rolling stock at the end of last month, the facilities located south of the border can't produce an equivalent volume to the Canadian worksite.