GM to close Oshawa assembly line in 2013

Fri Jun 1, 2012 7:49pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Friday that it expects to shut down an assembly line employing about 2,000 workers at its Oshawa, Ontario plant by June 1, 2013.

The consolidated line, one of two assembly lines at the Oshawa plant, was originally slated to cease production in 2008, but production was extended due to market demand for the Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Equinox crossover, GM said.

The company, which first announced plans to close the line in November 2005, will shift Impala production to its flex assembly line in 2013. The flex line currently builds the Chevrolet Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS.

Some of the 2,000 workers may be hired by the flex line, if market demand for the Impala necessitates a third shift, but the sector is bracing for major job losses.

As many as one-quarter of the jobs could move to the other line, said Scotiabank economist Carlos Gomes, translating to approximately 1,500 lost jobs.

"I don't really think it's an indication of the health of the sector," he said. "Nevertheless, it's never a positive when you see those kinds of job losses."

General Motors of Canada communications director Faye Roberts said it was too early to predict job losses because some employees could retire or go on "indefinite layoff".

GM notified Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) employees on Friday that one of three shifts on the consolidated line will be removed in the fourth quarter of 2012.

A second shift will stop in the first quarter of 2013 and the consolidated line will cease entirely when production of the current generation Chevrolet Impala ends, likely in June.   Continued...