Union must be part of auto sector rescue: Canada

Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:03pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian Auto Workers union needs to co-operate in any proposed government aid package for the struggling auto sector, Industry Minister Tony Clement said on Tuesday.

"It just stands to reason -- and I think Canadians and auto workers would support this -- (that) if we're in a situation where the Canadian government is coming to the table, where the manufacturers and the executives are coming to the table, then I think it's in that spirit of co-operation that we would like the CAW at the table too," he told reporters.

On Monday, CAW President Ken Lewenza, speaking to the National Post newspaper, rejected calls for union members to accept more job cuts as part of any aid package.

"A lot of things that we considered rock solid in terms of our positions in the past have had to become a little bit more amenable to change ... I think it behooves all of us to be very open to considering our past positions," Clement said when asked about Lewenza's comments.

Canada's Conservative government says it is in theory prepared to help the sector but will not contemplate short-term solutions.

Clement is due to visit the Washington and Detroit soon for talks on how to handle the auto sector's woes.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer, writing by David Ljunggren)