As workers at the GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario fight for their jobs, new layoff notices have been given out to at least 255 Canadian autoworkers in St. Catharines, Ontario.
The St. Catharines plant produces transmissions.
The layoffs will start Monday according to the chairman of Unifor 199. It comes amid increasing trouble in the Canadian auto industry.
Currently, 2,500 workers at the CAMI plant are on strike in an effort to protect their jobs. There have already been 600 jobs lost at the CAMI plant when production of the GMC Terrain was moved to Mexico.
The St. Catharines plant supplies 90% of the transmissions for CAMI, so the strike there is having an impact, and transmissions are stacking up.
Thanks to “free trade,” Mexico continues to take Canadian auto manufacturing jobs
While Canadian workers are known for high productivity and quality work, Mexico’s cheap labour has given Mexico the ability to take thousands of jobs from Canada in the auto sector.
Usually, import tariffs would be used to protect Canadian jobs, but NAFTA stops Canada from taking action. This is the rarely-discussed (especially by the elites), downside of free trade with cheap labour nations. Canadian workers, and the Canadian manufacturing sector have been decimated, and even when jobs have replaced those lost, the new jobs are often less secure and pay worse wages.
That’s why Canada must begin to re-think the “free trade” orthodoxy that dominates among the political elite. Some of the world’s fastest growing economies are among the most protectionist, and actively focus on protecting their national businesses and their workers. It’s time for Canada to do the same, and stand with our auto workers and manufacturing sector.
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