GM Canada workers step up protests at Oshawa plant

Sat Jun 7, 2008 1:45pm EDT
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By Frank McGurty

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian autoworkers on Saturday stepped up protests against plans to close a General Motors truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

They drove hundreds of cars slowly around the factory in an action they said disrupted parts deliveries and briefly shut down production.

A spokesman for the Canadian Auto Workers, which has staged a four-day blockade of the General Motors of Canada headquarters in Oshawa, said the convoy was "a second phase" that marked an escalation of the union's strategy to win a reversal of GM's decision to close the plant next year.

Since GM this week said it would close four truck plants in North America, workers have blocked a road leading GM Canada's headquarters in Oshawa, about 40 miles east of Toronto, preventing office workers from getting to their jobs.

CAW spokesman Keith Osborne said the convoy lasted about three hours and involved about 250 cars.

He said it slowed traffic enough to prevent trucks from getting through the plant's main gate to deliver parts, leading GM to shut production lines briefly at the truck plant and a nearby car plant.

Osborne said it was not the union's intention to disrupt GM's operations.

"We're doing this to get information out, to show solidarity, to show GM that they can't violate our contract," he said.   Continued...

<p>General Motors employees hold signs outside its Canadian headquarters in Oshawa, Ontario June 4, 2008. Hundreds of angry autoworkers blockaded the entrance on Wednesday, demanding the company reverse its decision to close the local truck plant and crying foul over the timing of the closure. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>