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GM schedules temporary layoff for Canada plant, shift cut in Mexico

General Motors’ CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., will be shut down during the week of Sept. 30 as GM adjusts its production targets, with additional temporary layoffs possible later in the year.

The automaker will also cut one of three shifts at its San Luis Potosí assembly plant in Mexico. Both plants build the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox crossover, while the San Luis Potosí factory also assembles the Chevrolet Trax and GMC Terrain crossovers.

“In keeping with GM’s strategy to align production with market demand, on August 1 CAMI employees were advised of an upcoming down week,” GM spokeswoman Jacqueline Thomson wrote in an email. “No additional scheduling decisions have been confirmed at this time.”

Unifor Local 88, which represents workers at the Ingersoll plant, said CAMI will “experience layoff weeks” in the fourth quarter of 2019. The union said no shutdowns have been confirmed beyond the week of Sept. 30.

Industry declines

GM's cutbacks in Canada and Mexico come amid declining new-vehicle sales in North America and in other markets and as trade tensions escalate. GM said its decision to cut a shift at San Luis Potosí is “due to variations in the industry forecast in different export markets.” According to Unifor, the shift will be cut on Aug. 12.

Equinox sales remained hot in the U.S., gaining 11 percent in the first half of the year to 174,157 deliveries. But sales have softened in Canada, where deliveries dropped by 17 percent to 9,687 units during that same timeframe, according to the Automotive News Data Center. (July sales are not included in those Equinox sales figures because GM no longer reports monthly sales in either country.)

According to the Data Center, vehicle production at CAMI fell 1.2 percent in the first half of the year to 113,231 units. Meanwhile, production at San Luis Potosí declined by 12 percent to 167,693 units.

Silver lining?

Unifor Local 88 President Joe Graves said that while the union is not happy with the ensuing shutdown, he took it as a good sign for the future of the plant that GM chose to cut a shift in Mexico instead of Ingersoll, despite the San Luis Potosí plant’s lower labor costs.

“I think it’s a sign that GM does recognize our quality,” he said.

According to GM’s website, the CAMI plant employs 2,517 workers. Graves said the plant’s approximately 200 skilled trades workers would continue to work through the layoff week.

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