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General Motors Canada job creation a positive step: Unifor

TORONTO, June 10, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor, representing 23,000 auto workers, calls the announcement of up to 1,000 new Research and Development jobs at General Motors Canada a positive step.

"This is an important boost to Canada's auto industry," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "The creation of 1,000 engineering jobs is excellent news; however the spin-off benefits of R&D positions are far smaller than an investment in the Oshawa assembly operation, which is very much in jeopardy with no production scheduled beyond 2017."

Vehicle assembly operations result in 9 spin-off jobs for each 1 in the assembly plant. If GM fails to re-invest in the Oshawa plant approximately 30,000 manufacturing jobs could disappear next year along with the loss of hundreds of millions in spending on auto parts and raw materials required for assembly.

"Ensuring that we have the expertise to undertake next-generation research and development in Canada only strengthens the case for further investment in advanced manufacturing production here," said Dias. "We're hopeful that today's announcement will help bolster the case for renewed investment in GM's Oshawa operations and that we'll be seeing new investment, and allocation of new vehicles, to secure the long-term future."

Earlier this month, Unifor's Auto Council voted unanimously to make new investments in Canada, including new product allocations, the top priority when bargaining commences with the Detroit Three, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Canada, this summer.

The state of the auto-industry has wide ranging financial implications, with the Oshawa plant generating more than $1 billion per year in revenue for the federal and provincial governments. Unifor encourages all levels of government to work with GM to secure the future of the Oshawa operations.

"This is important, not only for our members but for the wider community and economy in general," said Dias.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers.