Bombardier announces 2,500 layoffs in Québec
Montréal, QC – “This comes as a complete shock and surprise to the IAM, we had no prior knowledge of this action,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall regarding Bombardier announcement today of 5,000 layoffs worldwide including 2,500 in Québec.
“The biggest frustration is that once again Bombardier has announced major cuts just before Christmas with very few details,” explained IAM Québec Coordinator David Chartrand. “Just who is impacted by these layoffs, we have almost 20,000 people in Québec working for Bombardier and that’s 20,000 people with question marks in their mind. This is unfortunate and distressing. This is not the way to improve relations between employer and employee.”
The layoffs are part of restructuring by Bombardier which includes selling their Q 400 Turboprop aircraft program, and its business aircraft flight and technical training unit to Montréal based CAE. Bombardier says the measures will result in $250 million in annual savings.
With little in the way of exact details regarding the layoffs, IAM members can take solace in a reciprocal agreement between Bombardier and C-Series/Airbus consortium. “The IAM had great foresight in negotiating this agreement which permits our members with bargaining rights to transfer their employment between Bombardier and Airbus where we represent the workers,” explained IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall. “While this announcement comes as a complete surprise, this agreement provides our members with better protection than others impacted by the layoffs.”
“The move is mystifying because Bombardier is hiring in some programs and the aerospace industry is suffering a lack of manpower,” explained Chartrand. With forecasts of 30,000 jobs needed in the next seven years in the aerospace industry Chartrand is not too worried but he has questions. “Where is Bombardier going with their commercial program? They seem to be getting rid of their commercial series. Given the massive subsidies Bombardier gets from the provincial and federal governments, certain guarantees to maintain jobs for a certain number of years should have been included.”
It is not known what impact this announcement will have on the next round of collective bargaining between the IAM and Bombardier which is slated to begin within a few weeks. “We will be pushing hard on the Union’s agenda and will be working with our members to preserve employment and build strong middle class careers in this sector,” said Pickthall.