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23

44,000 Dissatisfied Autoworkers

The world's largest manufacturer of motor vehicles and the Canadian Autoworkers Union are in talks...

The world's largest manufacturer of motor vehicles and the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) are in talks for two weeks.

CAW has rejected GM's first offer of a 3 per cent wage rise, lump sum payments in the remaining two years of the three-year contract, cuts to cost of living allowances and caps on healthcare benefits.

If no agreement can be reached by midnight Canadian time on Tuesday, a strike by the CAW's 19,000 members will be automatic.

Industrial action involving Canada's 44,000 autoworkers would be severely damaging for GM as some of its Canadian facilities supply engines and parts for vehicles manufactured across the border in the US.

The talks will be watched closely by Detroit's "Big Three" vehicle makers as any settlement with GM, and with Ford and Chrysler thereafter, will set a benchmark for next year's negotiations between US manufacturers in the sector and the much larger United Autoworkers Union.