TORONTO – Up to 100,000 Canadian workers could be laid off by the end of this week if the strike at General Motors Corp's (GM) U.S. operations drags on, the head of the Canadian Auto Workers union said Monday.
CAW President Buzz Hargrove told a televised news conference he believed 80,000 to 100,000 employees in the Canadian auto sector could be forced out of work, a figure that included about 40,000 at parts manufacturers that sell to GM.
"To put it into perspective, we have about 80,000 workers in Canada that work in the automotive parts sector and General Motors buys about 50 percent of all automotive parts that are manufactured in Canada," said Hargrove.
"You can expect up to 40,000 autoparts workers to be laid off in the next three days."
On top of that, there are over 17,000 direct workers at General Motors in Canada that will be affected if the strike drags on, said Hargrove.
The remainder of the layoffs will come from companies that supply and service the auto industry in Canada, he said.
"So, it's not inconceivable that by the end of this week, we could have between 80,000 to 100,000 people unemployed, mostly in Ontario, some in Quebec, as a result of the dispute between General Motors and the United Auto Workers in the United States."
GM has two car plants and one truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario; a transmission plant in Windsor, Ontario; an engine and components plant in St. Catherines, Ontario; a parts and distribution plant in Woodstock, Ontario; and a joint venture with Suzuki Motor Corp, in Ingersoll, Ontario.
Hargrove said the transmission plant in Windsor closed down shortly after the strike began.
Oshawa's plant No. 1, which builds the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, will close on Tuesday morning, while plant No. 2, which builds the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Buick Allure, will close at the end of the Tuesday day shift.
The truck plant has enough parts for about three days of production building the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra.
And while there is no strict timeline for the St. Catherines plant, "it's pretty clear, within 72 hours, St. Catherines will start to wind down as well."
Hargrove said that it does not appear that the Ingersoll plant will be affected by the dispute.
Meanwhile, auto parts supplier Magna International said it is closely monitoring the situation.
"Depending on the length of the strike, Magna International may be required to suspend the supply of parts to General Motors," said Tracy Fuerst, director of corporatecommunications at Magna, in a statement.