After announcing it would shut down its Oshawa plant by the end of this year, General Motors Canada and Unifor announced they have reached a “transformation agreement.”
According to the agreement, the company plans to invest “in excess of C$170 million to support a transition of operations at the plant from vehicle assembly to one focused on stamping, related sub-assembly, and other miscellaneous activities for GM and other auto industry customers.”
GM will be converting part of its plant property in Oshawa into a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles.
This, Unifor said, will retain 300 jobs in the city, with the potential to grow in years to come.
“By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future. We are in a much better position than we were five months ago when the plant was closing,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
— GM Canada (@GMcanada) May 8, 2019
When initial news of the closing was announced, it was said around 2,400 jobs would be lost.
“This transformation plan is very significant as it positions Oshawa for a sustainable future,” said GM Canada president and managing director Travis Hester. “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.”
Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, welcomed the agreement.
“This is good news for the City of Oshawa and all of Durham,” Smith said, in a statement. “We are glad this historic site will continue to be a hub for vehicle parts manufacturing, technological innovation and regional economic growth.”
Smith also said that many workers will still face uncertainty as the plant scales down, and that the government would be there for the workers and their families.
The General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant has been building vehicles since November 7, 1953, according to GM’s website.