Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement told reporters at the North American International Auto Show that the government will “certainly” sell shares in General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
He said that the company will be “prudent” in selling the shares but he declined to provide a timetable. Last November, the Canadian government sold about 30.5 million GM shares it acquired when the company went bankrupt in 2009.
Chrysler recently said that Canada has a 2.3% stake in the company. Canada also owns about 9.3% of GM’s shares. Clement has denied a proposal by Canadian Autoworkers President Ken Lewenza to do away with the lower starting wages for U.S. auto workers.
Last week, Lewenza said that Canadian auto production is becoming uncompetitive because the UAW agreed to allow U.S. car companies to pay new workers $14 an hour, which is half of what veteran production workers earn.
Clement said that the UAW will not phase out its bargaining structure in the U.S. based merely on the CAW’s suggestion. Clement added that when GM and Chrysler were going bankrupt in 2009, workers had to take a hit in the same way that taxpayers took on some risk.
Clement concluded, “This is a never ending process. You’ve got to continue to be competitive.” [via autonews - sub. required]