Chrysler cuts 1,200 more jobs

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 06, 2009 08:34 hrs

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Toronto: Auto giant Chrysler cut 1,200 more Canadian jobs Wednesday at its Windsor plant near Detroit amid plunging sales.

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The auto maker, which is surviving on government loans, said it plans to axe an entire shift of 1,200 workers at the plant from June as demand for its minivans, including Dodge Caravan, shrinks.

Most of the vehicles assembled in Canada are shipped back to the US market by Chrysler, as well as GM and Ford.

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In a statement, Chrysler executive vice president Frank Ewasyshyn said, "Given today's severe economic environment and continued lack of consumer credit, which has affected the minivan market as well, we cannot sustain a three-shift operation at Windsor as we continue to work towards the appropriate level of plant utilization.

He said, "We will work closely with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union to manage the shift reduction in a socially responsible manner.''

The company said it has cut its overall capacity by 30 per cent, eliminating more than 1.2 million units since 2007.

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It said it has cut its workforce by more than 32,000 and will make additional reductions of 3,000 in 2009.

In operation since 1928, the Windsor plant (just across the border from Detroit) currently has 4,450 workers for making Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.

Canadian plants of Chrysler, GM and Ford account for about 17 t0 20 per cent of their total production, employing hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

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The Canadian government has announced a package of about $4 billion (proportionate to the US package) to help the troubled auto giants and save jobs.

Reacting to more job losses, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union president Ken Lewenza said, "The loss of the third shift at one of the company's most successful operations underscores the urgency for the provincial and federal governments to respond to the auto crisis not only with temporary loans, but with a comprehensive auto sector-specific industrial strategy.''

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