November 27, 2018 / 4:10 PM / in 21 days

Workers return to GM's Canada plant; union to meet Trudeau

GM workers gather for a meeting at UNIFOR Local 222 near the General Motors' assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

TORONTO (Reuters) - Workers returned to the assembly line at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario, plant on Tuesday, a local union leader said, after walking out on Monday to protest news the plant had been scheduled to shut down in December 2019.

Colin James, the president of Unifor Local 222, which represents workers at the plant, confirmed on Tuesday morning that his members were back at work.

Union leaders are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon. Trudeau had expressed “deep disappointment” at GM’s move on Monday.

The plant closure, which affects 2,973 assembly line workers, would end more than century of vehicle production in the city east of Toronto. It is part of a wider restructuring that will eliminate 15,000 jobs, GM said on Monday.

At a press conference in Oshawa on Monday, Unifor National President Jerry Dias promised “one hell of a fight.”

In 2009, GM shut down Oshawa’s truck plant, blaming weak demand for pickup trucks and SUVs. The city has a long history of labor unrest. When the truck plant closure was announced, a convoy of some 250 cars surrounded GM’s Oshawa operations, temporarily halting production.

During a 1996 strike, amid rumors that the company would try to restart production, a group of workers took over the plant, welding the doors shut behind them.

Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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