Hun­dreds of jobs lost as wind tur­bine plant closes

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - TILL­SON­BURG, ONT. —

Hun­dreds of peo­ple will be los­ing their jobs in Till­son­burg af­ter a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional com­pany an­nounced the clo­sure of a fac­tory man­u­fac­tur­ing wind tur­bine blades.

Siemens Wind Power Ltd. has an­nounced the fac­tory that em­ployed 340 work­ers is not large enough to build the sorts of big­ger tur­bine blades the com­pany needs to stay com­pet­i­tive in an in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing mar­ket.

Al­though the fac­tory won’t be fully closed un­til early 2018, the ma­jor­ity of staff will feel the ef­fects right away

Siemens says 206 staff are out of work ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, with the rest be­ing phased out over the rest of the year.

The com­pany says it will pro­vide ca­reer coun­selling and job place­ment sup­port for all em­ploy­ees.

Siemens de­scribed the de­ci­sion as a dif­fi­cult one, but said the plant was sim­ply not vi­able given dras­tic shifts in the de­mands and prof­itabil­ity of the in­dus­try.

The com­pany says the mar­ket for wind tur­bines has become more com­pet­i­tive since the plant opened in 2011, with prices drop­ping 66 per cent in the past seven years.

Siemens also said the mar­ket for wind tur­bines has shrunk dra­mat­i­cally in east­ern Canada, adding the type of blade needed in most cases to­day can­not be pro­duced at the Till­son­burg plant.

“To­day’s mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment re­quires sig­nif­i­cantly larger blades, a crit­i­cal re­quire­ment for our busi­ness to re­main glob­ally com­pet­i­tive,” the com­pany said in a state­ment announcing the plant clo­sure.

“The Till­son­burg fac­tory can­not eas­ily be adapted to man­u­fac­ture this prod­uct port­fo­lio. The sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments nec­es­sary to bring the plant in line with cur­rent mar­ket re­quire­ments would re­sult in costs that could not be com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­kets.”


Wind tur­bine maker Siemens says prices have dropped 66 per cent in the past seven years. Its tur­bine blade plant in Till­son­burg had em­ployed 340 peo­ple.

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