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Ford government will fight for Windsor auto jobs after Fiat announces cuts

Last Updated Mar 29, 2019 at 6:12 am EDT

A company logo at a Fiat car presented at the Brussels Motor Show in Brussels, Belgium (EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ)

Premier Doug Ford says his government will “fight tooth and nail” to protect auto jobs in Windsor, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it plans to cut the third shift at its assembly plant in Windsor.

“In the face of this extremely disappointing announcement from Fiat Chrysler, our government will not waver in our support for the thousands of men and women that go to work in Ontario’s auto sector every day,” Ford said in a statement on Thursday.

“I want the employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant to know that my government stands with you and your families. We will fight tooth and nail to protect the jobs of the auto workers in Windsor.”

The plant, which produces the Chrysler Pacifica and its hybrid version, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan, has about 6,100 employees.

Approximately 1,500 jobs will be eliminated in the Sept. 30 move the company said will better align production with global demand.

Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy said in a statement that the decision was unexpected, and the union will need the support of all levels of government moving forward.

“I was shocked and very disappointed that FCA has announced today the elimination of the third shift at Windsor Assembly Plant effective September 30th, 2019,” he said.

“Our members at the Windsor Assembly Plant with the support of our Feeder Plants continue to build the very best product throughout the FCA corporation. We will continue to meet with the company on alternatives of new products. We will need the support of all levels of government as we move forward.”

Ford says Fiat Chrysler shouldn’t make its decision based on what he called the anti-business policies of the former Liberal government.

“Our government is lowering taxes, lowering electricity rates and slashing red tape. There has never been a better time for auto manufacturers to invest in the province of Ontario,” the premier said.

The planned cut in Windsor comes as Ontario’s auto sector is already reeling from General Motors’ plans to end production at its assembly plant in Oshawa by the end of the year at a loss of about 2,600.

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