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900 South Koreans to work at NextStar Energy plant in Windsor | The plant Stellantis Battery Plant

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The NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, is under construction . This photo was taken on June 19, 2023.

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NextStar Energy has confirmed plans to hire 900 technicians from South Korea to work at its battery factory Windsor. This is subsidized by governments.

NextStar Energy, a joint venture between global auto giant Stellantis and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution, is the largest investment in the history of the Canadian auto sector and benefits from significant federal and provincial.

The announcement of the arrival of foreign workers last week sparked controversy.

NextStar has confirmed that these will be temporary workers and that these 900 foreign technicians will form a team with 700 other employees to install equipment.

The Stellantis battery factory

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The Stellantis battery factory

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However, according to Sean Strickland, of the Canadian Construction Trades Union (CMCC), this announcement “insults” Canadian workers. According to him, it is normal to receive training from certain employees, “but not 900”.

For his part, the Minister of Development The Ontario Economic Commission said it was satisfied with this clarification on Friday afternoon.

Additionally, an industry expert says it is necessary to hire these people in order to train other workers.

The company has clarified that in addition to the 900 foreign workers, it plans to hire 700 temporary workers for the construction of the factory and will then offer 2,500 permanent positions; these positions will be reserved for Canadians.

South Korean technicians have "specific knowledge" advanced equipment, NextStar said in its press release. Once their work is completed (which should take between three months and a year and a half), they will return home. These are not permanent full-time positions.

However, according to Mr. Strickland, the work should be entrusted to trained Canadians, particularly workers from southwestern Ontario. This is absolutely unacceptable, he declared. We must find a way to resolve the situation and maximize the number of Canadian jobs participating in this project.

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Mr. Strickland is executive director of SMCC, which represents more than 500,000 skilled trade workers across 14 unions.

We traditionally work alongside OEM representatives when we install equipment, but not 900. Until his union gets a meeting with the employer – which Mr. Strickland, has not yet happened – it will be too difficult to say what the acceptable number of foreign workers would be, he said.

The province's Economic Development Minister, Vic Fedeli, responded to the announcement in a written statement released Friday afternoon. Today I spoke with NextStar Energy CEO Danies Lee who confirmed that during the construction phase NextStar's network of external suppliers will utilize up to 900 highly skilled foreign workers and temporary workers to help assemble and install equipment for Canada's first battery manufacturing plant. These workers will also help train 700 Ontario workers with new skills essential to delivering projects like this as we begin the transition to building the cars of the future. To be clear, these temporary workers will come to Windsor to do this highly specialized work, train the Ontario workers, and then return home.

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Vic Fedeli is the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Speaker of the Cabinet of Ontario. (Archives)

The NextStar installation will be the first of its kind in Canada, and we look forward to its success […].< /p>

Canada has a free trade agreement with South Korea that would allow workers to come to Canada independent of the process of hiring temporary foreign workers.

An industry analyst told CBC News this week that it would be difficult to hire an all-Canadian workforce for the project.

Joe McCabe, president and CEO of Auto Forecast Solutions, explained that It is essential to bring in people who know the technology and are qualified. They come in, set things up, make sure everything is working properly, then hand it over [to the permanent workers].

The x27;Northvolt company will also have to hire foreign workers at its battery factory in Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec.

With reporting from CBC

's Dalson Chen

By admin

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