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Navistar’s Chatham workers ask for government aid

CHATHAM, Ont. International Truck plant workers in Chatham., Ont. are hoping government money will save their pla...


CHATHAM, Ont. International Truck plant workers in Chatham., Ont. are hoping government money will save their plant.

Nearly 90 per cent of production and office workers there yesterday ratified a three-and-a-half year deal that will temporarily freeze their cost of living allowance and cut vacations and bonuses, among other thing, for a yearly savings of $47.7 million.

But whether the deal goes through depends entirely on an extra $50 million in government aid.

Navistar says it can save $63.1 million per year by simply shifting the production of its 9000I series tractors from Chatham to a factory in Escobedo, Mexico.

"Government assistance is necessary to bridge the remaining cost reduction gap — $15.4 million per year, (for the life of the union agreement, set to expire Jan. 31, 2007)," International vice-president Thomas Hough wrote in letters to Ontario premier Ernie Eves and federal Minister of Industry Allan Rock.

The letters were releaed by CAW yesterday.

Last June, the same union rejected demands for major concessions to reduce operating losses. Workers went on strike for six weeks. In October, the company said it would close the Chatham plant this summer.


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