National president of Unifor says Tesla not the 'solution' for Oshawa GM plant
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Sunday, December 9, 2018 4:29PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 9, 2018 4:39PM EST
The national president of Unifor said he does not believe Tesla is the solution to save thousands of jobs in the province when General Motors shutters its assembly plant in Oshawa at the end of next year.
Speaking to CP24 on Sunday, Unifor President Jerry Dias said he does not believe Tesla CEO Elon Musk was serious when he mused about buying some of the five North American factories slated for closure.
Musk made the comments about possibly being interested in the plants in an interview with ’60 Minutes’ last week.
“This year they (Tesla) are likely to lose a couple hundred million dollars. So do I see them as sounding attractive? The answer is yes. But is that the solution for General Motors in Oshawa? The answer is no,” Dias said.
“I’d be open to anything but ultimately less than two per cent are electric vehicle sales… So that doesn’t even fill up one assembly plant. The only way that operation (the Oshawa plant) stays open in the short-term and in the long-term is with General Motors and that’s why we are not letting them off the hook.”
General Motors announced last month that it plans to shut down the Oshawa plant along with four other U.S. plants at the end of 2019 as part of a global reorganization. The company said it intends to shift focus to electric and autonomous vehicle programs.
The move, according to GM, will save the company US$6 billion by 2020.
In his interview with CP24, Dias was also critical of Premier Doug Ford’s reaction to the closure, which will leave 2,500 unionized workers at the plant without jobs. Dias claims that not only did the premier not fight to keep the plant open he has actually made it more difficult to attract new companies.
“What he’s done is made it almost virtually impossible for Tesla to come to Canada… He cancelled anything relating to green technology. All of the incentives that the previous government put on electric vehicles to be bought here in Canada, he cancelled it,” Dias said.
”He says there is no more corporate welfare. It sounded real tough. What a foolish thing for him to say. Does that mean he wouldn’t give Tesla one red cent in order to relocate to Ontario? So we are not going anywhere with that type of a mindset and that’s why I’m very critical because he is costing us the best jobs in this province.”
Ford previously said it would be impossible to convince GM to change its plans and contends that the union is giving employees "false hope" by suggesting otherwise.