Union slams GM for threat to hike Mex­ico pro­duc­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - DAVID PADDON TORONTO —

Gen­eral Mo­tors has de­clared “war on Canada” by threat­en­ing to move more pro­duc­tion of the Equinox sport util­ity ve­hi­cle from On­tario to Mex­ico, Uni­for na­tional pres­i­dent Jerry Dias said Thurs­day.

Dias said the au­tomaker told his union bluntly on Wed­nes­day that Equinox pro­duc­tion in Mex­ico is be­ing ramped up and pro­duc­tion at its CAMI plant in Inger­soll would wind down if Uni­for Lo­cal 88 con­tin­ues its 25-day­old strike.

He said Gen­eral Mo­tors is tak­ing ad­van­tage of the low pay scales for Mex­i­can work­ers at the ex­pense of higher-paid work­ers in the United States and Canada, as per­mit­ted by the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

“Gen­eral Mo­tors did de­clare war on Canada,” Dias said, in a phone in­ter­view Thurs­day from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., where NAFTA trade talks are be­ing held.

“This is GM say­ing to us — and say­ing to Canada — we’re go­ing to ramp up pro­duc­tion in Mex­ico and we’re go­ing to flood the North Amer­i­can mar­ket from cars built in Mex­ico.”

Gen­eral Mo­tors Canada did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Dias said Uni­for won’t back down about the CAMI plant and sug­gested the union could broaden its ef­forts to de­fend Uni­for jobs through­out On­tario’s auto sec­tor.

The CAMI plant is a prime ex­am­ple of a trend that has been hap­pen­ing for years, with GM adding plants in Mex­ico while clos­ing Cana­dian and U.S. plants, Dias said

“This is the ugly side of NAFTA, that peo­ple don’t want to talk about. Mex­i­can work­ers are be­ing ex­ploited and, as a re­sult of that, we’re los­ing hun­dreds and hun­dreds of thou­sands of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs in Canada and the United States. It has to stop.”

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

The CAMI as­sem­bly plant in Inger­soll has been shut down by a strike since Sept. 18.

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