LONDON, ON, Feb. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - CAW President Ken Lewenza is expressing
his anger and frustration at what is he calling the "callous move" by
Caterpillar to suddenly close its London Electro-Motive Diesel plant,
announced this morning.
Sadly, the closure doesn't come as a total surprise to the union.
"Caterpillar had no intention of keeping this plant open," said
Lewenza. "From day one, we believed that Caterpillar was trying to
provoke a crisis, by forcing deep cuts that were not possible," said
Lewenza. "Our members would have happily continued working under the
previous conditions, but that wasn't enough for this incredibly
Caterpillar locked out approximately 465 workers on January 1, after
tabling a final offer that would cut wages and benefits in half. Last
week, Caterpillar announced $4.9 billion in annual profits, the
highest in its 86 year history.
Lewenza also pointed the finger at government inaction in allowing the
closure. He said that 465 workers and another 1,700 workers employed in
spin-off jobs are now the casualties of an outdated and dysfunctional
Investment Canada Act, that attaches no commitment to Canadian jobs to
"The Stephen Harper government is entirely in the pocket of the
corporate elite and has shown absolute disregard for Canadian workers
and their families," said Lewenza. "I am disgusted at this government
and its indifference towards the suffering of workers and the
unemployed. The Harper government was elected by Canadians, but only
seems able to represent multi-national corporations."
"Even though we predicted that the plant could close, it's devastating
when it actually happens," said CAW Local 27 President Tim Carrie.
"This is truly rotten behaviour. Now we're going to do everything that
we can for our members."
CAW Electro-Motive chairperson Bob Scott said that members learned this
morning that the plant would close - the company gave the union
absolutely no advance notice. "Imagine the shock that our members felt
at hearing about losing their job, on the radio," said Scott. "It's
unbelievable that Caterpillar would string our members along and lock
them out in the cold for six weeks, when it had no intention of
reopening the plant," said Scott. "This is absolutely sickening
behaviour on the part of this corporation."
SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
please contact: CAW Communications Shannon Devine (cell) 416-302-1699 and John McClyment (cell) 416-315-3202