After two weeks of ongoing negotiations,
finally struck a deal with Canadian union workers on Friday to cut costs. But it's unlikely the move will do nearly enough to stave off the company's pending bankruptcy.
Canadian Auto Workers union agreed with General Motors Canada to freeze pensions, make monthly contributions toward health care and eliminate some overtime hours, among other provisions, to help General Motors Canada qualify for government loans to head off liquidation.
The deals allows GM to meet U.S. and Canadian government benchmarks, specifically to be cost-competitive with
Canada unit, union leader Ken Lewenza said.
The deal also stipulates that GM's car assembly and parts plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock will remain open.
But GM also needs bondholders who hold $27 billion in unsecured debt to forgive what they're owed in exchange for an equity stake in the company. Analysts have said it is nearly impossible that the required 90 percent of bondholders will agree to the offer, making a bankruptcy protection filing likely.
"From all of the discussions, it's very likely they'll go into Chapter 11 filing," said Lewenza. "GM is trying to avoid bankruptcy protection. But if they don't, the deal we negotiated last night is protected."
Lewenza said the deal delivers reductions of 15 to 16 Canadian dollars, or $13 to $14, in the average per-hour wage of the company's Canadian workers. This is on top of a previous CA$7 cut.
"We have preserved our wages. We have preserved and secured our pension benefits. We have protected most of our core benefits. Those are important victories, and they wouldn't happen without solidarity," Lewenza told a news conference.
Canadian union members already ratified a deal with GM back in March, but Canadian government officials said two weeks ago that they did not do enough to cut costs.
The governments have offered between CA$9 billion and CA$10 billion, or $7.7 billion to $8.5 billion, in loans to GM Canada and Chrysler Canada if they approve of the restructuring and cost-saving measures laid out by the struggling automakers.
Lewenza said Friday that
of Canada has also been approaching the union for cut-cutting measures as well.
Shares of General Motors plummeted 25.5% on Friday to close at $1.43.
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