Chrysler CEO warns Canada of high labour costs image

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has talked about Canada’s high labour costs, complaining of the higher costs of assembling cars at the company’s Canadian plants compared with its U.S. operations.

Marchionne’s words come as negotiations on a new contract between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three car companies are about to start.

“You cannot have all things. You cannot have a strong currency, you cannot have an uncompetitive wage rate and then expect Chrysler or all the other car makers to keep on making cars in this country and be disadvantaged,” Mr. Marchionne said Tuesday in Toronto.

The high value of the Canadian dollar has made Canada one of the most expensive countries in which to assemble vehicles, while competitive advantages such as taxpayer-financed health care were eliminated during the 2008-2009 crisis.

Marchionne said hourly labour costs in Canada will have to be addressed in the negotiations with the CAW. „We need to find a way to make those two numbers coincide,” Marchionne said about labour costs in Canada and the United States. He added he doesn’t care how the Canadian labour costs are adjusted to meet the U.S. number: “I’m willing to talk about anything. I mean anything.”