GM should rethink 'foolish strategy' or face terrible 2019: Unifor's Dias
The head of the union representing Canadian auto workers says he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont. off the chopping block.
“We will do whatever is necessary to get General Motors’ attention,” Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, told BNN Bloomberg’s Amber Kanwar on Thursday from the Windsor International Airport, while en route to meet GM executives in Detroit.
“There will be significant action if this meeting today does not go well,” Dias said, without mentioning specifics.
In November, General Motors announced that it plans to cut more than 14,000 jobs and shutter seven factories worldwide by the end of 2019, including its plant in Oshawa.
Dias said he would inform General Motors about the backlash from Canadian consumers that’s already underway and that is poised to continue if the company goes ahead with the closure. Dias told reporters later on Thursday that GM will consider the options Unifor presented to keep the Oshawa plant open and that the company is expected to respond by Jan. 7.
“We’re going to remind General Motors today that this is a $10-billion-a-year market. And we’re going to be quite emphatic about the fact that they’re making one heck of a mistake if they think that Canadians are going to forgive them,” Dias said.
“I received a call from a car dealership saying it's the first time in their history that they never sold not one General Motors vehicles in a week. I got a call from another dealership that's saying nine firm orders were cancelled in one day. So Canadians are already starting to pull back, which is a problem.”
Dias said he would urge General Motors “to live up to their contractual obligation,” saying that the company “made a commitment to us in 2016 contract negotiations that they were not going to close any of our plants during the length of the agreement.”
- with files from The Canadian Pres