Stellantis has announced that it will reduce the workload at its Ontario plant in Windsor, Ontario, in the spring of 2022. Starting then, only one shift will operate, down from the current two.
The company is not specifying yet when exactly one of the two remaining shifts will be eliminated. It cites the current semiconductor shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reasons behind the move.
The Unifor union, which represents workers at the plant, said on its Facebook page that the change will take place on April 17, 2022. The plant has seen production paused several times lately recently, but that was due to the microchip shortage.
The Windsor plant employs about 4,500 workers, most of them Unifor members, to produce the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler Grand Caravan and Chrysler Voyager for the American market.
The move will affect 1,800 jobs, the company told Automotive News Canada magazine. The publication tried to get comment from Unifor President Jerry Dias and Dave Cassidy, president of Local 444, which represents workers at the plant, but to no avail.
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For its part, Stellantis reaffirmed its commitment to invest up to $1.5 billion to build electrified vehicles at the Windsor plant. For the moment, anyways, nothing has changed on that front.
“The company reaffirms its WAP investment commitment outlined in the 2020 Collective Agreement of up to $1.5 billion,” Stellantis said in a statement. The agreement had been reached as part of the January 2022 contract negotiations.
At the time that deal was signed, Jerry Dias said he expected there will be more layoffs at the Windsor plant by 2023, given the declining popularity of the minivan segment.
We could add to that the fact that the Grand Caravan is no longer priced attractively for consumers. This fact alone has surely impacted demand for that model.