Bombardier layoffs in Montreal, Toronto, Belfast
Published Thursday, May 14, 2015 7:04AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 14, 2015 3:43PM EDT
Employees at the Montreal-area facility of Bombardier Business Aircraft are stunned that the company has decided to cut 1,000 jobs in Quebec as part of a workforce reduction affecting a total of 1,750 workers.
The Montreal-based company said that Thursday that current economic conditions and political turmoil in Russia, China, and Latin America have impacted the entire aerospace industry and has meant the company has had to reduce production of its largest business jets, the Global 5000 and Global 6000.
The layoffs, which will also include positions in Northern Ireland and Toronto, will begin in June and continue through early 2016. Those employees losing their jobs will be "progressively impacted" at various stages of the production cycle, the company said.
"We fully understand the impact this will have on our affected employees and their families and we will do everything possible to support them,” Bombardier Business Aircraft's president, Eric Martel, said in a statement released Thursday.
Bombardier has already cut more than 4,500 aerospace and support jobs since last July, including 1,000 in the United States and Mexico when it suspended development of the Learjet 85.
CTV Montreal's Tania Krywiak says the employees she has spoken to outside the Bombardier plant in Dorval, Que. told her they are used to the cyclical nature of the aerospace business and they expected there would be more layoffs this year. But many also said they were stunned by the number of job cuts announced Thursday.
Bombardier spokesperson Mark Masluch told CTV News Channel that the company hopes to transfer as many employees as possible to other positions in the company.
Masluch added that, despite the layoffs, the rest of Bombardier's business jet models continue to perform well.
"We've delivered the most business aircraft in Q1. So overall, our outlook is still very strong," he said from Montreal.
Bombardier has been struggling with sales of its large business planes in key emerging markets such as Russia, China and Brazil. Jet sales in Russia had been booming, but slowed after oil prices plunged and Canada, the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
Last week, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare told shareholders the company would need to begin belt-tightening in the face of higher costs and softer demand. He said the company would need to reduce production of its Global 5000/6000 planes.
Brad Duguid, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, said he was disappointed to hear of the job cuts and that his immediate concerns were with the impacted employees and their families.
He added that he is relieved that the manufacturing outlook for Bombardier's smaller business jets, Global 7000 and Global 8000, remains strong. Both models will be made in Toronto.
"I remain confident that Bombardier will continue to be a strong global force within the aerospace sector, and I expect that as global factors calm and economic strength is regained across the globe, Ontario will see increased investments and job creation from companies like Bombardier," he said.
Hot topic in question period
The Bombardier job cuts were a hot topic in Parliament on Thursday, with both Liberal and New Democrat MPs blaming the Conservatives and linking the cuts to the 20,000 jobs Statistics Canada reported lost in April.
Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie said thousands of people’s lives have been “thrown into chaos” as a result of recent jobs losses. “Why are the Conservatives ignoring so many people in need of help while giving billions to the wealthy?” she added.
Minister of Employment and Social Development Pierre Poilievre responded by saying the government’s tax cuts, training and trade agenda have created 1.2 million net new jobs since the 2009 recession.
“The NDP and Liberals have one plan for jobs and that’s to raise taxes on those who create them and those who work at them,” Poilievre added. “Mr. Speaker, taxes will only kill jobs and send shockwaves throughout our economy.”
Montreal Liberal MP Marc Garneau said the Bombardier cuts prove “it’s time something was done,” adding, “why is this government doing nothing to create jobs here in Canada?”
Poilievre replied that his government had taken action to create jobs by cutting taxes, pointing to the recently announced reduction in taxes for small- and medium-sized businesses, from 11 to 9 per cent.
“The Liberal leader says he would overturn those tax cuts for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” he added. “He wants to increase taxes on our small businesses and workers. Mr. Speaker, that’s the worst thing you could do. That would kill jobs.”