Ever since General Motors announced that it would kill six models and close the Oshawa plant at the end of 2019, negotiations have been under way to hopefully protect part of the workforce.
Well, there’s good news: GM Canada and the Unifor union announced this morning that they have reached a “Transformation Agreement” that will transition the Oshawa operations to parts manufacturing and advanced vehicle testing. Thanks to an investment of more than $170 million, some 300 jobs will be saved.
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More specifically, the plant will now be focused on stamping, related sub-assembly and other miscellaneous activities for GM and other auto industry customers. Part of the property will be converted to a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles, further expanding the capability of GM’s Canadian Technical Centre in Ontario.
“This transformation plan is very significant as it positions Oshawa for a sustainable future,” GM Canada president and managing director Travis Hester said. “This agreement maximizes the support for our people and their families, and further secures Oshawa as a key in developing vehicles of the future at our new test track.”
GM even hinted at the potential to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years, as the business attracts new customers. Meanwhile, the automaker will offer special relocations to Oshawa employees for jobs at some of its other Ontario operations.
Unifor also got GM to offer enhanced retirement packages to eligible Oshawa employees, including vouchers toward the purchase of new GM vehicles, and a “Jobs Action Centre” that will open in June to help other employees plan for future career opportunities outside GM following the end of Oshawa vehicle production.
“By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future. We are in a much better position than we were five months ago when the plant was closing,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.