470 workers receive layoff notices at Chatham, Ont., truck plant
Hundreds of workers at International Truck and Engine Corp. in Chatham, Ont., received layoff notices Wednesday.
The layoffs, which affect 470 employees including plant workers, office staff and management, are effective Jan. 31, 2009.
Three hundred people have already been laid off at the Navistar truck plant, which employees about 1,000 people.
Canadian Auto Workers Union representative Joe McCabe said the truck industry is suffering across the continent, and that the Chatham plant's orders are on the decline.
"The company is hoping that this is a short-term blip. They have increased market share with the international brand and they're doing better than other trucking firms and class A trucks, but the economy is not the greatest right now and we had expected eventually a layoff at the operation," McCabe said.
Daimler AG announced last month it was closing its truck-making facility in St. Thomas, Ont., in an effort to pare down its ailing truck operations.
The St. Thomas facility employs approximately 1,400 and was already scheduled to chop 720 jobs as the company eliminated a second shift at the plant.
McCabe said Wednesday the union has worked with Navistar in the past to make the Chatham plant more profitable. He said it's time the company returns the favour and moves some of its Mexican production north.
"So we're pressing them really hard on having that product come into Chatham. They have an obligation to make this operation in Chatham viable," McCabe said.
He added that he's hopeful that the truck market will rebound in the next couple of months so the actual number of new layoffs will be lower than 500.
With files from the Canadian Press