The strike at General Motors’ (GM.N) CAMI auto assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont. is ‘the poster child for what’s wrong with NAFTA’ according to the president of its union.
The strike—which began on Sunday night after negotiations broke down – is largely about protecting Canadian jobs from being outsourced to Mexico, Unifor president Jerry Dias told BNN in an interview on Monday.
“We are absolutely gun-shy,” Dias said about Unifor’s negotiations with GM. “When you have a plant in Mexico that pays their workers $2 an hour and they can’t even afford to buy the cars that they build, then you’ve got a real problem. So, CAMI, this whole strike is the poster child for what’s wrong with NAFTA, this is why we need to redo NAFTA.”
“This plant makes more cars with less people being there and for the last eight years they worked six days a week and what we got was the Terrain moving to Mexico and the laying off of 600 people. That’s how we were rewarded.”
GM halted production of the Terrain sport utility vehicle at the Ingersoll plant in July, moving the entire production volume to Mexico.
Unifor said in a statement that it is seeking a commitment from GM to officially designate Ingersoll as the lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox, which is also produced in Mexico.
However, Dias told BNN that the two sides remain on different pages, philosophically.
“I think we are a fair bit apart on philosophy, Dias told BNN. “If we can’t keep the jobs in the best plant, then how are we going to be expected to keep the jobs when the markets starts to dip.”
“We’re in a philosophical clash, I would argue, right now and so we’ll see where this thing takes us.”
-- With files from Reuters