GM to cut 625 jobs in Canada, move some work to Mexico: union

Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:37pm EST
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By Susan Taylor and Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors Co will cut 625 jobs at its auto assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, by the end of July as it moves some production work to Mexico, the president of Canada's largest auto workers union said on Friday.

The union blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement and Mexico's cheaper labor costs for the job losses, which it called unjustified given strong sales of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and GMC Terrain sport utility vehicle assembled in the southern Ontario plant.

"This came right out of left field," said Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union. "This nothing to do with Trump, but it has everything to do with NAFTA."

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, met with the chief executives of the Big Three U.S. automakers earlier this week, urging them to build more U.S. plants and invest less in Mexico.

General Motors Canada notified Unifor in advance about the labor impact from phasing out older models and shifting production of a new Equinox model, said spokeswoman Jennifer Wright in a statement.

GM has been planning the Terrain move for years, but only recently decided to end assembly of an older version of the Equinox at Ingersoll, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting with AutoForecast Solutions.

The job cuts were somewhat surprising, given GM's investment of some C$800 million on upgrades to produce a new 2019 Equinox model, said Tony Faria, a University of Windsor professor who studies the industry.

He added that all automakers pare costs where they can, however.   Continued...

The General Motors CAMI car assembly plant, where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are built, is seen in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, January 27, 2017.  REUTERS/Geoff Robins