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article imageProgress Rail closing London locomotive plant

By Ken Wightman     Feb 3, 2012 in Business
London - “It is regrettable that it has become necessary to close production operations at the London facility,” Electro-Motive Canada said in a prepared statement Friday.
Progress Rail has announced it is closing its London locomotive operation. Progress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. purchased Electro-Motive in 2010 and locked out its 450 London workers Jan. 1 of this year.
In a statement carried by PR Newswire, Progress Rail stated it is regrettable that it has become necessary to close production operations in London.
The cost structure of the operation was not sustainable and efforts to negotiate a new, competitive collective agreement were not successful, the company claimed. The company assures its customers that its global manufacturing network will not be impacted. Delivery schedules will remain unchanged.
The company is now in the process of notifying the locked out workers of their decision. The workers, members of the CAW, had been asked to take as much as a 50 percent cut in wages. The workers refused. A rally in support of the locomotive workers was held Jan. 21 in a downtown park in the mid-sized southwestern Ontario city. The rally drew an estimated 15,000 supporters from as far away as Sudbury, Ontario..
The London plant closure is being announced just a day before Progress Rail holds a job fair in Muncie to attract workers to its recently opened locomotive plant in the Indiana city. Wages offered in Muncie are, in some cases, less than half of what was being paid in London.
The London Free Press, the city's local paper, is reporting that CAW executive Jim Kennedy told workers the union will seek the best possible severance from Caterpillar. "They have money," he said.
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