‘A slap in the face to our workers and contractors’: CBTU – NextStar expects up to 900 foreign workers to help build Windsor battery plant

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CaDCR staff writer

The head of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) says a plan to hire 900 temporary foreign workers to build an EV battery plant in Windsor is a “slap in the face” to Canadian tradespeople.

NextStar Energy Inc. says it expects upwards of 900 foreign workers to help build its heavily-subsidized battery plant in Windsor, Ont.

The company, joint-owned by Stellantis and South Korea-based LG Corp., says the temporary global staff will be part of the roughly 1,600 technicians its external suppliers will use to assemble, install and test specialized equipment.

“Bringing approximately 900 South Korean workers to handle the installation of this equipment is not only an insult to Canadian taxpayers who funded this project with the understanding that jobs were going to Canadians, but it is a slap in the face to our workers and contractors, including those in Windsor who are the most highly-skilled tradespeople in the world,” CBTU executive director Sean Strickland said in a media  statement.

NextStar says it remains committed to creating 2,500 full-time jobs for Canadians to run the plant once complete, and that the construction company it has contracted will employ 1,600 Canadian tradespeople directly and through subcontractors.

Federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said earlier this week that he expects the company will bring in a few foreign workers to help with the project, but expects the company to prioritize Canadian workers.

The battery plant is expected to receive more than $15 billion in government funding through incentives linked partially to how many batteries it produces.

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