November 21, 2008 / 5:46 PM / in 9 years

GM to further cut Ontario production in '09: union

TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors of Canada is going to cut a second week of production at its Oshawa, Ontario, car plant in January, and may move up the timeframe for shuttering its Oshawa truck plant to May from July, an official from the Canadian Auto Workers union said on Friday.

<p>A General Motors employee inspects Chevrolet Impalas on the production line in Oshawa, Canada August 21, 2006. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>

“Our car assembly plant was scheduled to be on layoff the first week of January, but they notified us today that they’re going to take a second week out of January as well, as the market continues to soften,” said Chris Buckley, President of CAW Local 222 in Oshawa.

GM ships 95 percent of what it builds in Canada to the United States, where vehicle sales have collapsed in the economic and financial downturn.

GM Canada said two weeks ago that it would temporarily lay off 500 people from the plant at the beginning of 2009, until the market improves.

Parent General Motors Corp reported a $4.2 billion operating loss for the third quarter. It also said on Friday it plans temporary shutdowns at several U.S. plants over the next two months.

Right now about 5,000 people work in the Oshawa plant, which builds the Chevrolet Impala.

Buckley also said GM had indicated it may close its Oshawa truck plant earlier than anticipated, due to worsening market conditions in the United States.

“The date that we were told back in the summer was that they were looking at July ‘09, and that was based on the market, and the market continues to get worse,” he said.

A GM Canada spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

($1=$1.28 Canadian)

Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson

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