Workers end occupation at auto parts plant

DaimlerChrysler agrees to pay $1.8 million for severance, benefits
||Last Updated: 04/13/2007

Workers have ended their two-day occupation of an auto parts plant in Toronto's east end, following assurances they will receive a portion of their severance pay.

Workers blocked access to the Collins & Aikman plant in Scarborough late on March 30 after an official at the company's Southfield, Mich., headquarters told the Canadian Auto Workers union it wouldn't pay an estimated $6 million in severance and temporary benefits when the plant closes in the summer.

However, on April 1 DaimlerChrysler said it would pay part of the severance pay. The CAW also wants General Motors and Ford to pitch in funds.

Collins & Aikman is under bankruptcy protection in the United States and is selling its assets to pay creditors. The Toronto plant once had more than 400 staff but is down to 100 and is expected to close in late spring or early summer.

Over the weekend, in addition to the occupation of the Toronto plant, the CAW temporarily shut down the Collins & Aikman plant in Guelph, Ont., which provides electrical parts to DaimlerChrysler's assembly plant in Brampton, Ont., causing a four-hour long disruption at the Chrysler plant.

After Collins & Aikman confirmed it had set aside $1.4 million for workers, DaimlerChrysler, one of the manufacturer's creditors, agreed to contribute $1.8 million in exchange for union assurances of no further disruptions at assembly plants.

The union has said that the Collins & Aikman auto parts plant in Ingersoll, Ont., will continue carpet production but won't ship to GM and Ford unless those auto makers make up the $2.8-million shortfall in severance and benefits.

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