Canadian autoworkers begin strike against GM

10 Oct 2023 03:43pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - Facebook
Image for illustrative purposes only. - Facebook

DETROIT - More than 4,200 Canadian auto workers began a strike against General Motors on Tuesday after negotiators failed to reach an agreement with their union.

Canadian union Unifor's action at three facilities in Ontario shortly after midnight raises the pressure on the automaker, which is already affected by United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes in the United States.

"The strike includes approximately 4,280 autoworkers at the Oshawa Assembly Complex and CCA Stamped Products, St. Catharines Powertrain Plant and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre," Unifor said in a statement on its website.

Unifor president Lana Payne said the strike was the result of the company's unwillingness to meet the union's "pattern agreement", referring to its recent deal with Ford, as well as demands on pensions, retirees and temporary workers, among a series of other unresolved issues.

GM said it was "committed to keep working with Unifor to reach an agreement." "While we have made very positive progress on several key priorities over the past weeks, we are disappointed that we were not able to achieve a new collective agreement with @UniforTheUnion at this time," GM Canada said in a statement posted to social media.

Last month, 5,600 Canadian autoworkers at Ford represented by Unifor voted for a three-year contract that will provide a base wage increase of 15 percent over three years, including a 10 per cent boost the first year.

And on Friday, GM in the United States offered what the UAW described as a breakthrough when it agreed to include the auto giant's electric battery plants under the union's national agreement.

The offer prompted the UAW to suspend plans for a targeted strike at GM's assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, which builds full-size sport utility vehicles and is considered the automaker's most profitable assembly plant in North America.

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The UAW also is using targeted strikes in the United States against Ford and Stellantis. - AFP