Some politicians and community representatives in the Oshawa-Durham region were pleased with this week’s announcement that General Motors will convert the Oshawa Assembly plant into a parts production facility, but others believe the 300 retained positions aren’t enough to have an effect on the community at large.
Speaking to DurhamRegion.com, Oshawa Progressive Conservative MP Colin Carrie described the new agreement as “far from ideal,” as there are still more than 2,000 local residents who will be left unemployed.
“I remain deeply concerned for the other 90 per cent of our plant’s hourly — and salaried — workers who, along with their families, still face a very uncertain future,” he said in prepared statement. “A significant number of current hourly and salaried workers lack the years of service required to be eligible to retire with dignity when vehicle assembly operations cease in the coming months. For the sake of these hourly and salaried employees, we hope that GM Canada will continue to work with stakeholders to return production or related manufacturing mandates to Oshawa.”
Oshawa Assembly workers who spoke to DurhamRegion.com said the 300 positions that have been saved will be offered exclusively to those with high seniority.
“(The new agreement) won’t do much,” said one anonymous worker. “It’s going to help 300 people with 30 years or more, 15 years isn’t going to cut it. It’s not good.”
“It sucks really,” added another. “I have family that work here, it’s a struggle. To be swept under the rug with only 300 jobs, it sucks.”
In addition to converting Oshawa into a parts and stamping facility, GM also announced this week that it would be constructing a new autonomous vehicle test track on property of Oshawa Assembly. The track is seen as an expansion of GM’s growing technology presence in Ontario, where it already operates a large tech campus.
In a statement, GM Canada boss Travis Hester said the test track “positions Oshawa for a sustainable future.”
“This agreement maximizes the support for our people and their families, and further secures Oshawa as a key in developing vehicles of the future at our new test track,” he added.