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September 15, 2009

CANADA: Union, Ford, gather data for cost cut talks

The Canadian Auto Workers union is working on an exchange of information with Ford this week before returning to full-scale negotiations its head has said.

The Canadian Auto Workers union is working on an exchange of information with Ford this week before returning to full-scale negotiations its head has said.

The CAW opened negotiations with Ford last week.

CAW president Ken Lewenza told Reuters he expected it would take the remainder of this week to complete an exchange of information of data with Ford about how both sides view the automaker’s cost competitiveness on its Canadian operations.

“We hope to that that this week, certainly as soon as possible,” Lewenza told the news agency.

The CAW agreed earlier to significant concessions at Chrysler and General Motors to help those companies qualify for billions in government aid.

Both companies committed to maintaining about a fifth of their Canada-US production north of the border.

A key condition to reaching a new agreement with Ford would be a commitment from the automaker to maintain its current manufacturing presence in Canada, the CAW has said.

Lewenza said union negotiators and Ford representatives had not agreed on how the concessions granted to GM and Chrysler affected Ford’s labour costs in Canada.

“We have a difference of opinion with Ford,” Lewenza said.

A condition of resuming full-scale negotiations with Ford is the completion of the fact-finding that working-level teams are doing now, he said.

“There will be no further negotiation until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed,” he said.

Ford has about 7,000 hourly workers in its facilities in Ontario.

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