GM has declined to confirm a report by The New York Times that it will be moving an engine production operation from Mexico to Ontario as part of the labour agreement it reached recently with Canadian private sector union, Unifor.
GM will close one of two assembly lines at its Oshawa, Ontario plant as part of a deal with the union ratified earlier this week, but has agreed to rebuild another assembly line there to produce cars and commercial vehicles, as well as moving production of one engine out of Mexico to its St Catharines plant, said the report.
A spokesman for GM in North America said in a statement that the OEM was “pleased that Unifor members have today ratified a new collective agreement covering hourly employees at our Oshawa and St Catharines manufacturing plants and our Woodstock parts distribution facility”, adding that it would “enable new product, technology and process investments that will preserve jobs and place our Canadian operations at the forefront of advanced manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability”.
He declined to confirm the switch in engine production out of Mexico, however, or to comment on the rationale behind the move, which obviously runs counter to the strategy adopted by other OEMs who are generally expanding their presence in that country.
“We are not confirming any reports that have been published about product allocation at any of our facilities,” he told Automotive Logistics.
The union, which had been planning strike action at the three sites in Canada, said the new agreement with 4,000 of its members in Oshawa, St Catharines and Woodstock included a commitment by the OEM to invest $554m in its Canadian sites, conversion of 700 temporary positions to permanent full-time jobs, and significant wage increases.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias described the gains as “more than has been achieved in the past 10 years”.