Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is urging Canadian governments and the auto industry to develop a plan that addresses the structural problems of the auto industry and provides a long-term solution.
The union also said that in the short term, the federal and Ontario governments must also demonstrate willingness to be part of a continental solution to help the industry survive the current crisis, and that a comprehensive plan must be developed to put the North American industry on a solid foundation, including the creation of a North American auto pact. In return for a proportional contribution, Canadian governments would receive a proportional share of investments and jobs.
“The financial meltdown and credit freeze are responsible for a situation where the financial industry has stopped lending to not only car purchasers, but also to auto dealers, part makers and auto manufacturers,” said CAW president Ken Lewenza. “The Canadian government has provided $100 billion in support for banks, but it also needs to support the real economy. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Canada depend on a vibrant domestic auto industry.”
Lewenza also noted that offshore imports will take 30 per cent of the North American market this year, the highest ever, and while other countries have worked hard to support their domestic auto industries with measures, “the same isn’t true here.”
The union said that CAW labour costs equal 7 per cent of a vehicle’s cost, an amount that is less than the dealer margin, and at the current 82 cents US value of the Canadian dollar, CAW labour is cheaper than auto labour in the U.S., Germany and Japan.