Labour concession talks between General Motors of Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers intensified yesterday, several days past a government-imposed deadline, as the union president said demands were getting out of hand.
“We believe we’ve already made the sacrifices necessary, we believe we’re close to our limit,” CAW president Ken Lewenza said in an interview.
“At the end of the day, sooner or later, we’re not going to be able to go any further and we’re close to that.”
Teams bargained all through the long weekend aiming to strike a cost-cutting deal that will unlock $6 billion in assistance for the financially-troubled automaker.
Ottawa and the Ontario government allowed the parties to continue talking past Friday’s midnight deadline, while also working behind the scenes to broker a deal.
Lewenza had said “tiny steps of progress” were being made, but by yesterday afternoon he still saw no signs of an agreement being reached.
Still, he insisted that talks can’t break down because otherwise the company will be forced into filing for bankruptcy.
When negotiations resumed early yesterday the two master committees met face-to-face before breaking off into smaller groups in an attempt to deal with the most pressing issues.
Pensions, benefits and wages continue to be the main points of contention, Lewenza said, especially because he feels the union has already made greater concessions than were asked of Chrysler.