Published: Mon, November 26, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

General Motors to close Oshawa plant, affecting thousands of jobs

General Motors to close Oshawa plant, affecting thousands of jobs

President Donald Trump said his administration and lawmakers are exerting "a lot of pressure" on GM.

"We need to make sure that we are well positioned to compete, not just over the next few years, but well beyond", she said. Last month, GM rival Ford Motor. "And he said, 'The ship has already left the dock'".

Sources tell the Sun Ontario Premier Doug Ford will be commenting on the closure Monday.

The Oshawa announcement also raises questions about the future of GM operations in Ingersoll, which now produces the third-generation Chevrolet Equinox, and the St. Catharines engine operations, which produces engines and transmissions that are shipped to 10 different GM assembly plants across North America.

GM employs approximately 2,800 people in Oshawa - around 2,500 unionized and 300 salaried - down from a peak of 23,000 during the 1980s.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says there should be an emergency debate in the House of Commons today.

Under the new trade deal, 40 per cent of the content of automobiles must be produced by workers earning at least US$16 per hour to qualify for duty-free movement across the continent.

"Personally I'm very very hurt by this".

Closing the aforementioned plants is not all, though.

General Motors is expected to announce on Monday the closure of a factory in the Canadian city of Oshawa, putting nearly 3,000 jobs at risk, Canadian channel CTV reported.

The plant makes the Chevrolet Impala, a once-popular vehicle that has seen its sales crater in recent years as consumer tastes shifted away from small and midsize sedans toward bigger vehicles like pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles. They are working together to come up with a solution that works for GM and the employees.

"Yesterday, I spoke with @GM's Mary Barra to express my deep disappointment in the closure", he added. Trudeau has met with Barra a number of times since assuming office.

The closures come as North American automakers feel pressure from US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The auto manufacturer announced the closures as part of a sweeping strategy to transform its product line and manufacturing process in order to meet changing demand in the transportation industry, a plan that it says will save the company $6 billion by the year 2020. "Oshawa has been in this situation before with no product on the horizon and we were able to successfully make the case for continued operations. We will vigorously fight again to maintain these good-paying auto jobs". The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly produces the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Volt.

While the Oshawa operation is a shell of its former self following decades of cuts, Bains conceded the closure will be "incredibly devastating" to the local community.

The Oshawa GM operations are fed by suppliers across southern Ontario but it is too early to determine if there will be any effect.

Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said that GM "only made this official announcement to us yesterday".

He said that his party will call for an emergency debate in the House of Commons "to press the Liberals for a plan on how they will respond to the thousands of people out of work and how they will protect remaining manufacturing jobs in Ontario", he said in a statement.

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