By Shivansh Tiwary and Abhijith Ganapavaram
(Reuters) – Canadian union Unifor called off a brief strike that began early on Monday after reaching a tentative deal with Chrysler-parent Stellantis that offers workers sizeable hourly wage increases and a reduction in time needed to achieve top pay.
The deal, which covers 8,200 workers, will reinstate cost of living allowance (COLA) in December next year and improve all pension plans, Unifor said.
“The agreement puts in place all the elements of our pattern agreement, the protections autoworkers need throughout the EV transition, and next-generation products our members will build for years to come,” Unifor Stellantis Master Bargaining Chair James Stewart said.
Under the deal, which follows the agreements with Ford Motor and General Motors, production workers will get a nearly 20% increase in base hourly wage, while those in “Skilled Trades” will get a 25% hike over the three-year agreement.
The agreement also offers general pay hikes of 10% in the first year, 2% in the second year and 3% in third year. The time needed to get to top pay will be cut to 4 years from 8, according to Unifor.
By the end of the agreement period, a top-rate production assembler will be paid $44.52 per hour in addition to COLA of $1.61. The deal now needs to be ratified by members.
The agreement will “protect the long-term health of our Canadian operations”, Stellantis North America COO Mark Stewart said.
The union had commenced strikes at all Stellantis facilities in the country after talks over a new deal hit a roadblock despite the expiration of a strike deadline on Sunday midnight.
Among the “Detroit Three” in Canada, Stellantis employs the most number of workers and a prolonged strike would have hit the production of popular vehicles such as the Dodge Charger and Challenger, which are made in its Brampton assembly plant.
It could have also affected the assembly of minivans at the Windsor plant.
The Canadian operations of the “Detroit Three” are much smaller than their U.S. setups, but all have critical factories in Canada.
Meanwhile, the UAW and Stellantis reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract on Saturday. The automaker’s U.S.-listed shares were up 1.7% in morning trade.
(Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Edwina Gibbs and Arun Koyyur)