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GM announces investment in Oshawa plant

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Unifor and General Motors have announced the company will invest upwards of $170 million in the Oshawa plant.

The $170 million will be used to transition the facility from manufacturing vehicles to stamping, sub-assembly and autonomous vehicle testing.

According to GM Canada president Travis Hester at a press conference in Toronto this morning, the job will save approximately 300 of the 2,600 union jobs at the plant.

It was previously announced in late November 2018 the plant would be closing by the end of 2019, with GM stating its intentions to no longer manufacture vehicles in the City of Oshawa.

The Oshawa plant was one of several closures announced at the time, with plants also being closed in the United States.

Hester made the announcement alongside Unifor national president Jerry Dias at a press conference this morning at 11 a.m.

Hester said, “This new business will retain 300 Oshawa jobs, with the intent to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years as the business attracts new customers.”

He says GM will also convert 55 acres at the south end of the Oshawa plant into a test track for autonomous and advanced vehicle testing.

“This is very significant as it will not only support jobs, it will continue to grow our engineering and software development workforce based just across the road at the Oshawa technical centre, and our new Markham technical centre,” said Hester.

Transition plans for employees include special relocation opportunities to other Ontario operations.

“Now as we’ve noted over the past months, about 50 per cent of our hourly employees will be eligible for their GM retirement pension later this year, and we will offer enhanced retirement packages to approximately 1,300 of these employees,” said Hester.

These packages will include vouchers towards the purchase of a new GM vehicle, and Unifor will meet with members to discuss specific details later.

Hester also announced GM intends to donate the three-acre Fenelon Park and the 87-acre McLaughlin Bay Waterfront Wildlife Preserve to the City of Oshawa.