North Bay layoffs
Published Friday, October 5, 2018 7:35PM EDT
Ontario Northland in North Bay is confirming today that two dozen layoff notices have been handed out at one of the local operations.
It was tough news for the workers, but the company says it had to trim its work force according to the projects it’s getting.
24 workers got the word Friday that they've temporarily lost their jobs.
Andy Mitchell is the President of Unifor Local 103.
"It's painful for anybody. Especially, you know, with two weeks' notice and leading into Thanksgiving. I sympathize with each one of them." said Mitchell.
Ontario Northland executives say there has been a reduction in work at the re-manufacturing and repair centre.
Corina Moore is the President of Ontario Northland.
"We had a temporary pause with one of our contracts, which means less work in the manufacturing shops. We knew this going into this business. We went in this business a couple of years ago." said Moore.
Ontario Northland changed its business model three years ago. The change brought 100 new jobs to North Bay and brought the total number of people employed with the rail company to 450.
"We're proud of the impact we have, and proud of the skills we have in the shop. And we have done a lot in the last week to bring that number down to 24. We contacted our current customers and they will be sending more work to North Bay." said Moore.
The repair centre had a number of projects underway as of January, including work on a four-year, $20-million contract with Canarail, an ongoing contract to do maintenance and upgrades for CN Rail, as well as painting ‘go-train’ cars for a Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay.
These layoffs come a week after the company and union sat down to try to reduce the impact of a pause in one of its contracts.
The union says it wants people back to work as soon as possible.
"Every day we're going to be looking at it. If there's an opportunity within the organization, a new position, even if it's outside of our collective agreement. We got a commitment from the ONR that we will bring these people back." said Mitchell.
ONR wants to emphasize that it considers these layoffs as temporary, but the company adds it's unsure of when the workers will be employed again.