HALIFAX, Canada - A group of 24 employees occupied Volvo's Halifax, Nova Scotia, plant to protest against redundancy terms offered by the company. Volvo intends to lay off all 233 workers and close the kit assembly plant one week before Christman.
The occupation started 21 October when workers blocked all the gates with cars and refused to allow entry to Volvo officials. They said they would remain until Volvo agreed to better severance terms. The company has offered two weeks' pay per year of service for up to 40 weeks.
Volvo Canada President Gord Sonnenberg said the company would not negotiate while this 'illegal and dangerous action' continued. Volvo has filed with the Nova Scotia Labor Relations Board to force the employees to end the work stoppage and occupation.
The occupying employees, some wearing T-shirts saying, 'Volvo Employees Hung Out To Dry,' have been supported by up to 100 workers outside the plant.
The 35-year-old plant assembles Volvo S70/V70s. When the closure was announced on 9 September, Sonnenberg said: 'It is not economically viable to produce cars for the Canadian market in Halifax as we expand our product line.'
In August, 7,000 Korean auto workers successfully used similar tactics when they occupied Hyundai's Ulsan assembly plant, in protest at lay-offs.