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GM strike in the US ends after 40 days

Now the record-breaking strike is now over, negotiations are set to begin with Ford.
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The 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) employed by General Motors in the US have voted to go back to work, with just over 57 per cent in favour of the new four-year deal.

The majority vote ends the longest automotive strike in the US in 50 years. Both sides will paint the end of the strike as a victory.

GM was successful in closing three out of the four factories it wanted to shutter. The one spared, the Detroit-Hamtramck car plant, will be used to make electric pickup trucks and SUV, some possibly wearing the dormant Hummer brand.

The automaker also promised to invest US$4 billion ($5.9 billion) in existing sites, and build a battery plant near the Ohio factory it is planning to sell off to Workhorse, a startup electric car manufacturer.

For the UAW, it managed to gain a greater share of company profits, a number of guaranteed pay rises, a US$11,000 ($16,000) ratification bonus for members, and retain its generous healthcare plan.

The union also managed to secure pay rises for long-term contract employees, as well as a clearer path towards to full-time employment.

Although UAW doesn't represent workers in GM's Mexican and Canadian plants, production of engines, transmissions and pickup trucks had to be paused in some Canadian and Mexican factories due to shortages of parts from US facilities.

The strike also halted production at some suppliers, as they were no longer required to produce components for GM.

Australia

It's unclear what impact, if any, the strike has had on Holden and HSV. Currently only two Holden vehicles are produced in North America, the Mexico-made Equinox and Tennessee-built Acadia.

HSV imports two left-hand drive models from the US, the Silverado pickup truck and the Camaro, for local conversion and sale.

When we spoke to HSV at the beginning of the strike, it indicated it had a long lead time for its vehicles, which would provide a decent amount of buffer.

With the deal between the UAW and GM now ratified, the union will begin the bargaining process with Ford. Fiat Chrysler will have have its turn afterwards.

Ford currently sources the Mustang from the US, while the Chrysler 300 and the majority of the Jeep range comes from North American factories.