Stelco cuts 29 salaried em­ploy­ees from pay­roll

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - MARK MCNEIL mm­c­neil@thes­pec.com 905-526-4687 | @Markatthes­pec

Stelco has shaved 29 salaried work­ers from its pay­roll as the com­pany con­tin­ues ef­forts to re­struc­ture and emerge from cred­i­tor pro­tec­tion with a new owner.

Michael McQuade, the pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager, told em­ploy­ees in a let­ter on Mon­day the com­pany had made the “dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to re­duce Stelco’s cur­rent non­rep­re­sented work­force.

“This de­ci­sion was not made lightly, but it is nec­es­sary to con­trol our costs and help move our com­pany into an era of sus­tained prof­itabil­ity.”

The job losses — at both Hamilton and Nan­ti­coke op­er­a­tions — come at the same time the com­pany is hir­ing other em­ploy­ees to do work pre­vi­ously han­dled by its par­ent U.S. Steel.

So far, 10 peo­ple have been hired in those roles, the com­pany says, with another 50 po­si­tions posted. The jobs are in ar­eas such as in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and pur­chas­ing.

“As part of this tran­si­tion it is im­per­a­tive that we take the op­por­tu­nity to build an or­ga­ni­za­tion and a struc­ture that can ac­com­mo­date many tasks that have been pre­vi­ously per­formed by our par­ent com­pany or oth­ers out­side of Canada,” the let­ter from McQuade said.

An­drew Hat­nay, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing salaried em­ploy­ees in the Com­pa­nies’ Cred­i­tors Ar­range­ment Act (CCAA) pro­ceed­ings — on­go­ing since the fall of 2014 — said the em­ploy­ees ter­mi­nated Mon­day will be paid and re­ceive ben­e­fits un­til the end of March.

Many longer-ser­vice em­ploy­ees have greater sev­er­ance en­ti­tle­ments but they will have to go through a “claims process and will be treated as an un­se­cured claim and will re­ceive a pay­ment of some cents on the dol­lar.

“We don’t have in­for­ma­tion about what cents on the dol­lar it will be at this point,” Hat­nay said.

Stelco spokesper­son Trevor Har­ris said the job ter­mi­na­tions and new hires are “part of be­com­ing an in­de­pen­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion that is far more stream­lined, ef­fi­cient and able to com­pete in the mar­ket­place of the fu­ture.”

Talks con­tinue be­tween U.S. Steel of­fi­cials and Amer­i­can-based Be­drock In­dus­tries to land a deal that would see Be­drock take Stelco out of cred­i­tor pro­tec­tion as an in­de­pen­dent steel­maker.

Har­ris said the com­pany cur­rently has about 2,200 em­ploy­ees at its Hamilton and Nan­ti­coke op­er­a­tions with about 550 of them be­ing non-union salaried work­ers.

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