Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne isn't sure whether he will ask the CAW to take a collective pay cut during the next round of contract negotiations, slated for this year.
"I don't know [if wages need to come down]. I sincerely hope we don't have to get to that stage," Marchionne said Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.
'The Canadian system needs to be as competitive as the American side.' — Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne
Marchionne told reporters he is only sure of one thing when it comes to the labour market.
"The Canadian system needs to be as competitive as the American side," Marchionne said. "They are not today. We need to find a way to make them more competitive."
In the U.S., the UAW accepted a contract with two-tiered wages and profit sharing. Both are things the head of the Canadian Autoworkers unino, Ken Lewenza, has said he is dead against.
Chrysler builds minivans at the Windsor Assembly in Windsor, Ont., and a variety of full-size sedans, including the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger at its Bramalee plant in Brampton, Ont.
Marchionne said Chrysler needs "a competitive set of assets in Canada."
He also said a two-tiered wage system is not the answer. He called the system a "stop gap measure" and "undemocratic."
"It creates two classes of citizens," he said.
Still, Marchionne sounded confident about the automaker's future in Canada.
"I think we continue to perform well in Canada," Marchionne said. "Certainly all the elements are in [place] for both those plants to do well."
However, Marchionne said there will be no new hiring done in Windsor.
Marchionne said the North American auto market, which he called "good for the foreseeable future," has greatly recovered since the company accepted a number of government loans, including one each from the Canadian and Ontario governments.
"I think we paid it all back with interest. I think we’re grateful," Marchionne said. "I think we'll be fine."