Ontario government 'asleep at the switch' as layoffs continue



    TORONTO, Feb. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - "While Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty
congratulate each other on how much they are doing to retain good, quality
manufacturing jobs, Ontario's manufacturing sector takes another hit with the
announcement of the permanent loss of 70 full-time jobs at General Electric's
Lighting Plant in Oakville."
    That statement from the Ontario Vice-President of Canada's largest energy
workers' union, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
    "With the closure of these production lines, another 250 jobs are
potentially at risk," explains Bob Huget.
    CEP represents over 300 manufacturing workers at General Electric's
Oakville Lighting Plant -- one of the most efficient GE facilities in the
world. The shrinking market for incandescent light bulbs is the reason given
to the union by GE for the partial closure of the plant.
    "It's time for the province and the federal government to stop talking at
each other and sit down with leading manufacturers and workers to secure new
investment for green products, like energy-efficient lighting," adds Mr.
Huget.
    "General Electric has the expertise and Ontario has the skilled
workforce. Now the government needs to step in and help secure investment in
research and new-product development so we can grow our manufacturing base,
and not sit by and watch new products and new investment go to other
countries.
    "The closure of these lines will impact older workers who face an
increasingly difficult job market in manufacturing. They will need retraining.
So why hasn't the Ontario government accessed available federal funds
earmarked for retraining older workers?
    "Alberta and Quebec have accessed federal funds for retraining, while
Ontario hasn't even bothered to submit a proposal to get its share from the
federal government.
    "The Ontario government is asleep at the switch, while workers and their
families are paying a high price for it."




For further information:

For further information: Bob Huget, (905) 678-0800, ext. 286, (613)
299-9839 (mobile)

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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