Lower your costs, or else...

Ottawa won't help automakers until they cut back on wages and benefits

GM and Chrysler have yet to draw a penny out the federal government’s $4-billion bailout fund – and, says Industry Minister Tony Clement, they will have to lower their labour costs if they hope to do so in the near future. The companies have until February 20 to meet the conditions laid out by Ottawa. But matching the labour costs of Japanese manufacturers, a concession to which U.S. auto workers have already reluctantly agreed, is among the biggest hurdles remaining between them and the taxpayer dollars that are expected to keep them afloat. In the end, the rollbacks could amount to cuts worth up to $20 an hour in wages and benefits doled out to employees.