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GM workers in Oshawa walk out in protest of plant closure

27 November, 2018, 07:19 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Donald Trump’s victories in Ohio and Michigan—places where General Motors will shut shop—helped seal his electoral vote total and the presidency

GM is not the first to abandon much of its vehicle market.

Two other plants outside North America - as yet unnamed - are also due to close, in addition to the pre-announced shuttering of the firm's plant in the South Korean city of Gunsan.

Also consider GM to Idle Factories, Cut Thousands of North American Jobs.

He demanded the automaker find a new vehicle to build in OH and added that he had told GM Chief Executive Mary Barra he was unhappy with her decision to cut production at an OH factory.

"This industry is changing very rapidly", Barra said during a press briefing.

Jim Graham, the former president of the United Automobile Workers union that covers employees at GM's Lordstown plant, called the announcement "depressing", adding: "Hopefully we can do something".

Lordstown Assembly in OH, shown here in 2008, is one of the plants at which General Motors plans to cut production in 2019.

Senator Rob Portman said in a press release that he asked GM to commit to bringing a new product to the plant.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with Barra and expressed "deep disappointment".

The company said the plan would make it more efficient, saving $6 billion a year by the end of 2020.

"Actions are being taken to reduce salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent, which includes 25 percent fewer executives to streamline decision making", CEO Mary Barra said.

At the factories, 3,000 workers could lose jobs in Canada and another 3,600 in the U.S.

More than 16 months ago, the UAW confirmed that it was discussing with GM the potential threat to plants and jobs from slumping USA sedan sales.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles got out of small and midsize cars two years ago, while Ford announced plans to shed all cars but the Mustang sports auto in the United States in the coming years. In Ontario, it plans to halt production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS by the final quarter of 2019.

The US$6-billion in savings includes cost reductions of US$4.5 billion and lower capital expenditure annually of nearly US$1.5 billion, GM said.

Barra did not link Monday's cuts to tariff pressures, but said trade costs are among the "headwinds" GM has to face as it deals with broader technology change and market shifts. As many as 10,000 jobs are tied to companies that supply parts for the plant, said Flavio Volpe, head of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.

Closing the aforementioned plants is not all, though. Consultancy LMC estimates that Lordstown will operate at just 31 percent of production capacity in 2018.

Trump has not yet responded to the announcement, but he encouraged a boycott of Harley-Davidson after the motorcycle company said it was moving some production overseas because of the tariffs.

"No, I don't think these violate the 2009 agreement, in part because we always made clear that GM should be free to run its business in the ordinary course", Rattner said. "I said 'Well, then get a auto that is selling well and put it back in.' So I think you're going to see something else happen there". GM expects to spend $1 billion on Cruise this year to build the next generation of cars. Ford (F) announced in April it would just about end all production of sedans in North America.

An industry-wide slowdown in passenger auto sales started to pick up steam in 2017.

USA consumers have swiftly shifted away from passenger cars to larger, more comfortable SUVs and pickup trucks, leaving automakers scrambling to readjust.


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