MASSE COMDEMNS THE HARPER GOVERNMENT FOR GM PLANT CLOSURE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2008

MASSE COMDEMNS THE HARPER GOVERNMENT FOR GM PLANT CLOSURE
Lack of National Auto Policy to blame for Windsor facility being shutdown

Windsor, On- Today, Brian Masse, Member of Parliament (Windsor West) and NDP Transport, Auto policy, and Border Critic, condemned the Harper Conservative government for the lack of a national auto policy which has lead to the closure of several auto facilities including the General Motors Transmission plant in Windsor Ontario, which was announced this morning by the company.

“This is a real disappointment for the workers and families of the CAW Local 1973, which represents GM employees at the Transmission plant. Bill Reeves, Mike Thomas, Paul Edwards and the rest of the leadership there have worked extremely hard to obtain a new product for that facility. Their diligence and determination was undaunted. They represented a local that gave significant money and time to charities such as the united way. The efforts of the autoworkers at the GM Transmission plant always demonstrated a commitment to bettering this community.” Masse stated.

GM informed the employees today that after the current work runs out in the second half of 2010 the Windsor Transmission facility will be closed down. The plant currently employs 1400 hourly and salaried workers. Production volumes are approximately 3800 per day. The company stated that there is no available replacement product for Windsor Transmission.

During the last four years approximately 140, 000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Ontario alone. In Windsor, Ontario, which is the automotive centre of Canada, 35 percent of all manufacturing jobs have been lost during the same time period. For the first time in 18 years Canada has become a net importer of automotive products down from a record surplus of $ 15 billion in 1999. At the same time Canada has fallen from being the fourth largest Auto assembler in the world to the tenth.

“The Harper Conservative government has decided to do nothing for the auto industry. No national auto policy, no sectoral strategy. While other countries implement and strengthen their own auto industrial plans, this government introduced then cancelled the failed ‘feebate’ program which subsidized foreign auto manufacturing. The sector is being put at risk, from assembly to parts to tool and moulds, by this ideological Conservative government. They display the same old inaction, incompetence, and ineptitude of the Liberals they replaced,” Masse exclaimed.

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