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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK
Strikes close Canadian GM plants
GM's Oshawa assembly plant in Canada
Car Plant 1 in Oshawa was the second in Canada to be closed
Two General Motors plants in Canada have been forced to close by the continuing strikes at GM plants in the United States.

Another Canadian plant may be forced to close later on Tuesday because all three plants rely on parts from the US.

Negotiators from the United Auto Workers (UAW) and GM have resumed their talks as 73,000 workers begin their second day of strike action.

They walked out after 10 weeks of talks failed to reach a contract agreement.

Ontario plants

On Monday, the company's transmission plant in Windsor, Ontario, which employs 1,400 people closed down.

Car Plant 1 in Oshawa, Ontario, which employs 3,000 workers was next to close.

Then, at the end of Tuesday's day shift, lack of major components from the US closed Oshawa's Car Plant 2, meaning another 2,500 workers had to be laid off.

Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 Canadians, mostly in Ontario, could be laid off by the end of the week.

As the talks in the US continue, one of the main sticking points is job security.

GM wants workers to give up some of their expensive benefits in order to improve competitiveness and free itself from a healthcare obligation of more than $50bn (25bn).

In return, the UAW wants GM to promise to make new models in the US.

The GM contract is particularly important because the UAW will try to make it the basis for new agreements with Chrysler and Ford.

A good thing?

Analysts say a short strike could actually be a good thing for GM as they currently have too many unsold cars on their books.

They also predict that the strike is unlikely to last more than two weeks.

"The action is designed to allow UAW leaders to look vigilant in fighting to preserve benefits, members to feel concessions are not being given gratuitously, and GM management to appear to be maximizing shareholder value," said Robert Barry at Goldman Sachs.

But UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said that he has no intention of calling off the strike without an agreement.

It is the first time that the UAW has called a national strike against GM for more than 30 years.

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