Lay­offs for 32 con­tinue at Petro­lia plant

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MOR­DEN pmor­[email protected]­media.com

Lay­offs con­tinue at the Water­ville TG auto parts man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Petro­lia.

The com­pany said Fri­day there were a to­tal of 32 tem­po­rary lay­offs in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary, with ad­di­tional sim­i­lar lay­offs an­tic­i­pated in Fe­bru­ary and March.

Water­ville said ina stat­ment it “rec­og­nizes and re­grets the im­pact of these mea­sures on its em­ploy­ees but be­lieves they are essen­tial in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, and in the best in­ter­est of the fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity of the com­pany.”

The com­pany said the Petro­lia facility, which makes au­to­mo­tive seal­ing prod­ucts, is facing the planned com­ple­tion of its cur­rent Corolla pro­gram, as well as changes to ex­ist­ing cus­tomers vol­umes, re­quir­ing a re­duc­tion in the plant’s work­force.

“We’re au­to­mo­tive and it tends to be cycli­cal,” said Norm Brad­shaw, unit chair­per­son for UAW Lo­cal 251. “You get peak and val­leys in pro­duc­tion de­mands and new busi­ness.”

He said the com­pany has been talk­ing with union mem­bers at the plant for sev­eral months, so news of the tem­po­rary lay­offs didn’t come as a sur­prise.

“We’re go­ing to suf­fer the loss of a few, and I say suf­fer be­cause it’s un­for­tu­nate for each in­di­vid­ual mem­ber that loses their job,” Brad­shaw said. “Hope­fully, it won’t be long term and we can get to busi­ness and call some of them back.”

The plant was built by Que­becbased Water­ville TG in 1999 and makes weather strip­ping and seal­ing prod­ucts for sev­eral au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies.

Water­ville said the plant has se­cured a new Honda Civic pro­gram launch­ing in 2020 and con­tin­ues to look for other new busi­ness.

There are cur­rently 499 ac­tive union mem­bers work­ing at the plant, Brad­shaw said.

He said the length of the re­cent lay­offs is un­de­ter­mined.

The last time there were lay­offs at the com­pany’s Petro­lia plant was in 2008.

“When things went south in that year, there was a big re­duc­tion here but since then it has been a buildup,” Brad­shaw said.

It was re­ported in late 2008 that the plant’s pay­roll was down to 180 com­pared to 2005 when there were 400 work­ers at the site.

Water­ville TG also has man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in Que­bec.

LOUIS PIN/SAR­NIA OB­SERVER

Auto parts man­u­fac­turer Water­ville TG has an­nounced lay­offs at its plant in Petro­lia. A to­tal of 32 po­si­tions are af­fected at this point, the com­pany said.

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