Ford Motor Co.’s Canadian arm is setting up to axe 450 jobs at its biggest manufacturing facility in Canada at Oakville, by the early part of 2020. The move has come about as the company has decided to stop the production of select vehicle models following a prolonged period of slow sales and a major revamp of the company’s product portfolio.
The job cuts will account for approximately 11 per cent of the 4,200 workers at the Oakville assembly plant, and 5.6 per cent of the overall 8,000 strong workforce in Canada. According to a statement by Ford Canada, the production of the MKT Lincoln Crossover was discontinued earlier this month, while the production of the Flex sport-utility vehicle is scheduled to stop in November.
The assembly plant at Oakville is also involved in the production of the Lincoln Nautilus crossover and the Ford Edge models. The company has said that it was moving its focus to high growth segments to meet the changes of customer demands.
Union to Negotiate Labor Contracts
Unifor, the union which represents most of the employees working for Ford Canada, called for new products to be assigned to the Oakville plant. Dave Thomas, the President for Unifor Local 707 said: “For months Unifor has been urging Ford to come up with a plan to avoid this scenario. Ford was aware the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT were coming to the end of their production life-cycle.”
Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada, who is now scheduled to enter into negotiations for new labor contracts with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler next year. So far, the union has been seeking long term commitments for manufacturing at the Ontario plants of all three companies.
However, factors such as the stance of President Donald Trump to increase U.S. manufacturing, and threats of tariffs on vehicles being imported from Canada have increased the challenge for unions such as Unifor. In addition, a large number of vehicles being produced in Canada are based on older vehicle designs, which make discontinuation more likely.