GM, Unifor announce deal to save 300 jobs at Oshawa plant

General Motors Canada President Travis Hester and Unifor National President Jerry Dias take part in a press conference in Toronto

Production at the Oshawa Assembly Plant is scheduled to end in December 2019, which would leave almost 3,000 workers without jobs.

According to GM Canada president Travis Hester at a press conference in Toronto this morning, the job will save approximately 300 of the 2,600 union jobs at the plant.

GM Canada president Travis Hester and Unifor national president Jerry Dias speak to reporters on Wednesday.

"The government will work with us extensively on any sort of work-sharing program in order to keep the 1,500 jobs, whether or not you work the day shift and afternoon shift and the midnight shift is home for a week, or we work four days and the fifth day is off", Dias said.

Aside from the plant, the investment will pay for a test track for autonomous vehicles.

Unfortunately most of the roughly 2,600 hourly workers now employed in Oshawa assembly will still lose their jobs, though there will be opportunities for them to move to other GM plants in Ontario.

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Part of the large crowd at Dieppe Gardens for the Unifor rally in support of GM Oshawa workers, January 11, 2019. "Putting a test track in gives those jobs more security ... but also potentially a real possibility of more jobs on the intellectual side of the industry". "There'll be more next year". "I will suggest that instead of us facing a hard closure in December of this year ... we have an understanding between the parties of a long-term commitment".

But Dias couldn't call Wednesday's announcement a true triumph because the future for thousands of families is still uncertain.

"I'm really happy that General Motors and Unifor have been able to get to the table and iron this out", he said. Details of what the retirement package will include are expected to be released on Thursday.

Hester said, "This new business will retain 300 Oshawa jobs, with the intent to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years as the business attracts new customers".

A statement from the union's Local 222 said the announcement will concern "operations in Oshawa". Hester said that "we need to be able to [test] software algorithms in a safe way, and the test track is a flawless place".

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