‘No role’ for government in Navistar labour dispute

WINDSOR, Ont. — Despite investing millions in Navistar’s Ontario operations, the provincial government won’t intervene in a labour dispute that has seen Navistar International shift production from Chatham to Mexico, Sandra Pupatello, minister of economic development and trade, said Wednesday.

“The Ontario government has no role to play in the discussions between workers and the employer,” Pupatello said after addressing an automotive outlook conference at Caesars Windsor. “What is important is that we’ve created an opportunity for there to be significant investment in the Chatham area and in the University of Windsor. Our investment is geared toward R&D — that is creating the next generation of products coming out of Navistar and in supporting training costs for employees in Chatham.”

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CAW Under pressure to make deal with Ford

Pressure has shifted to the Canadian Auto Workers union after Ford Motor Co. struck a concession-laden deal with the United Auto Workers.

Canada must remain competitive with its U. S. neighbour to maintain automotive investment and the union must look at bringing Ford’s labour costs here in line with its American workers — as well as GM and Chrysler — or risk losing jobs, Ken Lewenza, CAW national president, warned Wednesday.

“There is serious pressure. We should not underestimate that we always measure ourselves against the Americans. We always have, we always will,” Lewenza said.

“They are better positioned now than we are,” he said of the UAW deal. “If we do not get an agreement, it will be disastrous.”

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