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Economy

CAMI strike impacts London parts supplier

Employees of the GM CAMI assembly factory stand on the picket line in Ingersoll, Ont., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. The 2,500 members of Unifor local 88 walked out Sunday, September 17 at 10:59 p.m. when negotiators for the union and the automaker failed to come to terms on a new contract agreement. .
Employees of the GM CAMI assembly factory stand on the picket line in Ingersoll, Ont., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. The 2,500 members of Unifor local 88 walked out Sunday, September 17 at 10:59 p.m. when negotiators for the union and the automaker failed to come to terms on a new contract agreement. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

The strike at General Motor’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont. has forced a London auto parts supplier to temporarily shut its doors.

Qualtech Seating Systems manufactures seats for the Chevrolet Equinox and has been supplying CAMI since 2003.

The London-based facility has been forced to cancel shifts and could soon issue temporary layoff notices to its 308 employees.

“We’re anticipating that that’s what’s going to happen if this strike is going to continue,” said plant chair Penny Loxton.

“Right now we’re just cancelling shift by shift, but I fully expect that sometime maybe today (Tuesday) or tomorrow the layoff notices will go out.”

READ MORE: GM hit by strike as autoworkers walk out at Ingersoll, Ont. CAMI plant

Despite the labour stoppage, Loxton said they fully support the strike action taken by CAMI workers.

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“We need the work and the work has to stay in Canada, and specifically in Ontario.”

Twenty-five-hundred unionized workers at the CAMI plant walked off the job late Sunday as negotiators failed to reach agreements on plant operations, economic issues and job security.

READ MORE: Contract talks at CAMI Ingersoll go down to the wire

Unifor president Jerry Dias says the CAMI plant is a “poster child” for what’s wrong with NAFTA.

“We have lost four plants in Canada, they’ve closed ten in the United States, they’ve opened eight in Mexico, and two more are about to be opened in Mexico,” said Dias in an interview with AM980’s Craig Needles.

The union wants General Motors to declare the plant a lead producer of the Equinox after losing production of the GMC Terrain to a Mexican plant, where it pays workers $2 an hour.

“We’ve lost 600 jobs (at CAMI) and this is a plant that for the last eight years worked six days a week, so this is how we’re rewarded,” added Dias.

This is the first strike at a GM-owned plant in Canada in over 20 years.

With files from the Canadian Press

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