LONDON – Today Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has been shut down by its parent company Caterpillar Inc.  The plant has been in operation in London since 1949. 

“The closing of another plant in London is devastating,” said Irene Mathyssen, MP (London-Fanshawe).  “The men and women of EMD showed courage and integrity, fighting for fairness not only for themselves, but for all working people in this country. They took a stand against corporate greed and said loud and clear that enough was enough! These are the kind good paying jobs that are vital if we are to keep London a thriving community and keep Canada a strong and prosperous.”

The company locked out workers in December when employees refused to agree to a 50% pay cut. EMDs closing will result in 450 jobs lost. 

“This decision is about corporate greed” said Teresa Armstrong, MPP (London-Fanshawe).  “You cannot expect a family to take a 50% hit on the family income.  To make such demands on workers while corporate profits are at record levels, and then to shut down the plant, is an insult to hard working Ontarians. This confirms all of our fears about McGuinty’s soft stance on job creation and corporate taxes. When deep tax cuts and rebates aren’t tied to job guarantees, our workers lose, our economy loses, and all of Ontario loses.”

Caterpillar posted record high revenue in its last quarter with a 59% increase in profits. Prime Minister Steven Harper visited EMD’s plant floor in March of 2008, to help showcase the regions’ manufacturing sector. 

“The federal government has failed to protect the manufacturing sector in London.  The tax breaks to companies have not protected any of these jobs” said Mathyssen. “It is very clear that corporate tax cuts are ineffective in keeping manufacturing jobs in Canada.”

When Harper took office in February of 2006, there were 2,127,200 manufacturing jobs in Canada.  Today there are 1,743,700 – a total loss of nearly 400,000 manufacturing jobs on Harper’s watch.  We have lost over 40,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year alone.

“The Harper government failed these workers, our community, and every worker in the country by remaining silent and refusing to come to the aid of the EMD workers and their families. We need a way to protect Canadian jobs, and we need a government that will act. New Democrats have offered practical proposals, like the “Made In Canada” Act I brought forward, or the changes to the Investment Canada Act my colleagues have called for. The loss of so many jobs is devastating for the workers, their families and communities across Canada and cannot be allowed to continue.” said Mathyssen.  

The announcement at Caterpillar follows a string of closures in the area including Vytec, auto parts maker Siemens VDO, and the Beta Brands plant.  The Siemens closure cost the last 250 workers their jobs at a plant which just over 10 years ago employed almost 2,000.  The Beta Brands plant had been running since 1858 and the closure was devastating for many long time employees.   The Vytec Plant had been operating in London since 1974 and employed 200 workers.