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Trouble in last-gasp GM talks: officials

autos Updated: May 18, 2009 07:59 IST

Eleventh-hour negotiations between General Motors and auto workers in Canada hit a snag Sunday, labor officials said.

"We don't have an agreement right now. But there is a disagreement between GM Canada and the CAW, and the federal governement," said Shannon Devine, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Auto Workers.

She was not expecting an agreement imminently. "Definitely not tonight (Sunday into Monday), Devine said.

Ottawa gave the ailing US car company and the union until May 15 to renegotiate a labor contract deemed critical to GM's survival, or risk losing a bailout of up to three billion Canadian dollars (2.5 billion US).

"We're still working on it, but it could take a couple more days because of these latest complications," Devine said.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said in a statement earlier that talks would proceed Sunday after "progress" was made on important points, although many issues remained "unresolved."

"Our CAW negotiating team continues to work hard to reach an agreement with General Motors," Lewenza said in the statement late Saturday, one day after the deadline for agreement set by the Canadian government.

"We will continue our talks as we work towards reaching a tentative agreement that we can bring back to our membership for ratification," he said.

"We have made some progress, however, there are a number of key issues that remain unresolved at this point."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier a taxpayer-funded bailout "is dependent upon all of the stakeholders making the difficult decisions necessary to ensure the viability of the company."

But as recently as Friday, Lewenza called GM's demands for deep labor cost cuts "overzealous" and insisted there was "no way" the union would make the wide-ranging concessions proposed by the company.