GM to Shut Down Oshawa Assembly Line in 2013

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General Motors Co (GM) said on Friday it expects to close one of the two lines at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant by June 1, 2013.

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The consolidated assembly line, which employs about 2,000 workers, was originally expected to cease production in 2008, GM said in November 2005. But production was extended due to market demand for the Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Equinox crossover, GM said.

"It is too early to predict accurately the job impacts related to these scheduling actions which will unfold over the next year as some employees may elect to retire and others will be on indefinite layoff," General Motors of Canada communications director Faye Roberts said in an email released to Reuters.

The company notified Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) employees on Friday that one of three shifts on the consolidated line will be removed in the fourth quarter of 2012.

A second shift will stop in the first quarter of 2013 and the consolidated line will cease entirely when production of the current generation Chevrolet Impala ends, likely in June.

CAW President Ken Lewenza called the decision short-sighted, saying GM's best course of action may be to use its existing capacity to meet growing demand for vehicles.

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"The decision to close this very productive line and put 2,000 more workers out of a job is ill thought-out and could damage the company in the long run," Lewenza said in a statement.

"It is also a betrayal of the tremendous work and sacrifices by our members that went into keeping General Motors afloat in 2008-2009, when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy."

The current contract for CAW members at GM expire this September, with negotiations for a new three-year deal expected over the summer.

The Oshawa plant's second assembly line, a flex line, builds the Chevrolet Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS. It will be a manufacturing location for the next- generation Chevrolet Impala, starting in 2013.