Toronto

200 jobs on the chopping block at Ford's Oakville plant, starting in September

Ford Motor Company's Oakville plant is set to face about 200 layoffs beginning in September, the company says.

Province says it's 'disappointed' with decision; union says further layoffs possible in January 2020

Ford Motors Company said in a statement the layoffs at its Oakville plant are the result of a 'long-standing practice of matching production with consumer demand.' (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Ford Motor Company's Oakville plant is set to shed about 200 jobs beginning in September, the company says.

In a statement, the company says the changes are the result of a "long-standing practice of matching production with consumer demand."

"We are changing from tag relief to mass relief in final assembly, which means the line will now stop during breaks. We are also eliminating one shift in paint, bringing that area of the plant to two shifts, affecting approximately 200 jobs. The layoffs will begin in September," the statement reads.

In a message to members, Unifor Local 707 president Dave Thomas says he was called to the plant manager's office on July 17 to discuss changes to upcoming scheduling and various restructuring measures. Thomas says employees could see further layoffs in January 2020.

"We have been arguing as a Local for the past several weeks trying to persuade the company from somehow avoiding this scenario but to no avail. As always, it's based on a business decision and it all comes down to dollars and cents," Thomas's letter said.

Province 'disappointed' with decision

A statement from the spokesperson for Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli says the province was "disappointed to learn of Ford's decision."

"We want the employees in Oakville to know that our government stands with them and their families. We will work with our partners to continue to fight for good jobs in Oakville and support the affected families," Robert Gibson said. 

The statement goes on to say the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has also been in contact with the Ford company, offering support to the affected workers."Ford informed the Ministry they have made arrangements to provide support and do not require any additional help from Employment Ontario," it said. 

Opposition leader Andrea Horwath also issued a statement calling out government "inaction" in the face of the layoffs.

"Our thoughts are with the ... workers, and their families, at the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant who will be hurt by layoffs. Unfortunately, they've been let down by Doug Ford, just as he let down workers at GM Oshawa and Bombardier in Thunder Bay," Horwath said. 

"Once again Mr. Ford is sitting on his hands instead of fighting to protect good auto sector and manufacturing jobs,"  the statement continued.

The move is just the latest blow to the automotive production sector in Ontario, coming just months after the sudden announcement that General Motors will stop making cars in Oshawa, Ont., which sent shock waves through the industry last November.