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Protest at shuttered auto parts maker over unpaid severance

Wingham’s Wescast facility, as seen on July 19, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London) Wingham’s Wescast facility, as seen on July 19, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)
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Frustrated employees of Wescast’s shuttered auto parts manufacturer in Wingham, Ont. will be sending a message to their former ownership on Thursday.

Former Wescast workers and Unifor are planning a protest outside Wescast’s former foundry in Wingham, against the company’s owners for allegedly withholding as much as $10 million from workers in severance and termination pay.

Wescast’s parent company, Sichuan Bohong Group, based in China, shuttered Wingham’s Wescast foundry on July 27, 2023, putting 180 employees out of work.

At the time, Wescast officials said the closure was only “temporary” and that they planned to reopen the auto parts factory by 2026 once new equipment and financing was secured.

Wescast’s employees were leery of that proposed plan, and the union said it’s past time terminated workers were owed their severance, which combined, could exceed $10 million.

Unifor said it has reached out the Ontario Director of Employment Standards seeking intervention.

“Our protest is about sending a message to Wescast’s overseas owners that ignoring your legal, financial and moral obligations to workers is not how you do business in Ontario,” said Unifor Ontario Regional Director Samia Hashi.

Thursday’s Wescast protest is planned to begin at 11 a.m. outside Wingham’s Wescast facilities on Water Street. 

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