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Canadian auto union can't agree with GM

THE Canadian Auto Workers union is still in talks with embattled General Motors Corp on a deal that will cut the auto maker's costs, but a number of key issues remain unresolved, the union said on Saturday.

But a statement from the union said the talks had made some progress. The government had imposed a deadline of midnight on Friday for an agreement to help make the company's Canadian operations viable.

"Our CAW negotiating team continues to work hard to reach an agreement with General Motors," CAW President Ken Lewenza said. "We will continue our talks as we work toward reaching a tentative agreement that we can bring back to our membership for ratification."

The CAW reached an initial deal with GM in March, but the Canadian government said that did not go far enough. It wants GM to get its total labor costs - for active workers and for retirees - in line with non-unionized plants that Toyota operates in Canada to qualify for taxpayer-funded loans.

"The taxpayers of Canada cannot be expected to support the restructuring unless the restructuring will be successful, and that is going to require difficult decisions on the part of everyone," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

GM, which has been kept afloat with US$15 billion in United States government loans, burned through US$10 billion in the first quarter.

The company has said bankruptcy by June is probable as it tries to slash US$27 billion in debt and cut up to 40 percent of US dealers.


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