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TORONTO - Ford Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers abutment began labour talks Tuesday afternoon, with the approaching of an accumulation bulb in southern Ontario one of the above issues on the acceding table.
Ford asked the CAW to renegotiate its accepted labour contract, which doesn't expire until 2011, afterwards the abutment gave abundant concessions to both General Motors and Chrysler beforehand this year.
The concessions were allotment of a massive restructuring action that saw both automakers book for defalcation aegis south of the bound and accept billions of dollars from governments in both Canada and the U.S.
Ford was the alone one of the Detroit Three automakers to survive the banking crisis on its own -- and has apparent its bazaar allotment abound because of this -- but Ford Canada admiral and CEO David Mondragon has said the aggregation needs a new labour arrangement agnate to that at GM and Chrysler in adjustment to break aggressive in both Canada and the U.S.
The CAW has bidding a alertness to negotiate, but beneath the action that Ford advance its accepted accumulation brand in Canada.
"If Ford Motor Aggregation is austere about extensive a new acceding with our union, it charge accomplish to maintaining, and hopefully expanding, its Canadian accumulation footprint," CAW admiral Ken Lewenza said in a account Tuesday.
"Already Ford's proportional Canadian attendance is abundant abate than that of General Motors, Chrysler and alike Honda and Toyota. There is actually no allurement for our associates to accept a arrangement that makes a cardinal of sacrifices after convalescent job aegis and abiding our abandoned associates to the job."
Mike Vince, administrator of the CAW's Ford adept acceding board and admiral of Local 200 in Windsor, Ont., said the abutment expects Ford to advance about 13 per cent of its North American accumulation in Canada.
This may prove easier said than done, however.
Ford Canada backer Lauren Added accepted Tuesday that the aggregation has no affairs to accomplish cartage at its St. Thomas, Ont., bulb above 2011. The bulb has been in operation back 1967.
Currently, the 1,600-employee bulb articles the Ford Crown Victoria, the Lincoln Town Car and the Mercury Grand Marquis -- all full-sized cars, appeal for which is bound to alcove markets. In fact, the Crown Victoria is alone awash as a allotment of fleets, such as badge cars and taxis.
Vince said that if Ford affairs to abutting the St. Thomas plant, it will accept to access accumulation abroad to accomplish up for the accident of jobs.
"If that's the case again they're activity to accept to do article in our minds to ensure that they bolster the brand in the added two locations (of Windsor and Oakville)," he said.
Auto industry analyst Bill Pochiluk said none of the cars bogus at St. Thomas are "particularly competitive," and Ford would accept to absorb a lot of money advance the models in adjustment to accumulate the bulb open.
"Quite frankly, we're not abiding that accurate artefact set is accordant appropriate now with the kinds of aggregate that it's acceptable to have, mostly for automated markets... because that can be accomplished application added vehicles, including SUVs and, for example, the new Taurus," said Pochiluk, admiral of industry adviser AutomotiveCompass.
Pochiluk said the abutment would accept to accord Ford "very, actual substantial" concessions for the aggregation to be able to absolve befitting the St. Thomas bulb open.
However, Ford may be accommodating to advance abroad to accumulate a agnate accomplishment brand in southern Ontario, including architecture added engines at its bulb in Windsor or abacus new models to its bulb in Oakville, which currently produces the added accepted Ford Edge, Ford Flex and Lincoln MKX, Pochiluk said.
Ford Canada's sales are up 17 per cent year over year and the aggregation managed to advance GM out of the top sales atom two months in a row this summer.
And two Ford cartage -- the bunched Focus and the Escape SUV -- fabricated the Asian-dominated Top-10 account of cartage purchased beneath the American "Cash for Clunkers" program, which offered consumers up to US$4,500 to barter in old cars for new fuel-efficient models.
However, Vince said this artlessly makes Ford a success adventure in a "very anemic market."
"To be accomplishing a little bit bigger than others in a almost anemic market, yes, it's acceptable for the corporation, and we're blessed for that, but it's no acumen to bless by any means," he said.
He added that the CAW has consistently had a acceptable accord with Ford and he's "hopeful" the negotiations will go smoothly.
After months of acceding during which the CAW accomplished agreements with GM, again Chrysler, and was again affected by the federal and Ontario governments to accord GM alike added concessions, the abutment agreed to carve labour costs at both companies by acid benefits, alteration alimony allotment obligations and creating a assurance for retiree bloom benefits.
In addition, Ford Canada's Detroit-based ancestor (NYSE:F) won US$500 actor in accumulation beneath a new arrangement with the United Auto Workers in March. Reports say Ford has asked the UAW to bout concessions fabricated to Chrysler and GM as well.
Ford Canada employs about 7,000 bodies at accumulation plants in Oakville and St. Thomas, a genitalia bulb in Windsor and a genitalia annex in Brampton, Ont.