Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) will re-enter negotiations with General Motors early next week.

The announcement follows a meeting with GM and  federal and Ontario government officials, where the government mandated the company and the union to go back to the bargaining table and reach an agreement by May 15.

“The governments have said that if we reach an agreement, it will be protected even if General Motors files for bankruptcy protection here in Canada,” said CAW president Ken Lewenza.

Lewenza said that during the meeting, the government indicated that it will not provide the necessary financial support if a deal is not reached, and GM Canada will be liquidated.

The union said that part of the challenge will be to come to terms with retiree costs and the pension fund, which is badly underfunded. Lewenza said that the provincial government bears much of the responsibility for the shortfall, due to a funding loophole that allowed GM to avoid its pension obligations for many years when it was a highly profitable company. He also said that comparisons to Toyota Canada are unreasonable, because Toyota has few retirees, while GM has close to 25,000.

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