* Union demands manufacturing presence commitment
* Ford employs about 7,000 hourly workers in Canada
Cost cutting talks between Ford Motor Co (F.N) and the Canadian Auto Workers began on Tuesday, the union said, adding that a key condition to reaching a new agreement would be a commitment by Ford to maintain its current manufacturing presence in Canada.
The CAW agreed to significant concessions at Chrysler and General Motors [GM.UL] earlier this year to help those companies qualify for billions in government aid. Both companies committed to maintaining about 20 percent of their Canada-U.S. production in Canada.
Ford, which has not requested any government aid to help it survive the steep downturn in the industry, has not made any Canadian production promises, and proportionally, has a much smaller Canadian presence than GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota, the union said.
If Ford Motor Company is serious about reaching a new agreement with our union, it must commit to maintaining, and hopefully expanding, its Canadian production footprint, Ken Lewenza, the CAW's president, said in a statement.
There is absolutely no incentive for our members to approve a contract that makes a number of sacrifices without improving job security and returning our laid off members to the job.
Ford has about 7,000 hourly workers in facilities in Oakville, Windsor, Brampton and St. Thomas, all in Ontario. (Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)