Bombardier eliminates 1,750 jobs
Company announces layoffs in Toronto and Montreal as it adjusts to weaker demand for business jets
Bombardier says it's cutting 1,750 jobs, including 1,000 positions at the company's facility in Montreal, as the company contends with a softer market for its business jets.
The move will affect up to 480 positions in Toronto and up to 280 in Belfast, the company said Thursday in a release.
"We have seen an industry-wide softness in demand recently in certain international markets and are taking steps to adjust our production accordingly," said Éric Martel, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, in the release.
"We fully understand the impact this will have on our affected employees and their families and we will do everything possible to support them."
Lower energy prices and political turmoil in such markets as Russia, China and Brazil have sliced into the demand for Bombardier's largest business planes, forcing it to reduce production of its Global 5000/6000 planes.
Bombardier had said last week that it was planning another round of cost-cutting to adjust to weaker demand for business jets and warned layoffs were likely in Toronto and Montreal.
New CEO Alain Bellemare told shareholders that layoffs are one tool, and the company is also looking at reducing other expenses including supplier and development costs.
About 4,500 employees work at the Toronto assembly facility and Montreal completion centre.
Jacques Daoust, Quebec`s minister of the economy, said the company is going through some tough times, but he remained confident in Bombardier over the long term. "My understanding is that they will offer pre-retirement packages to a few [employees]" he said.
"We have to protect retirees," his cabinet colleague, Labour Minister Sam Hamad added. "We have to protect workers and the company. So we have to find balance between the three of them."
When asked for comment on the report, Ontario Minister of Economic Development Brad Duguid told CBC News that "Bombardier has been a significant economic contributor to Ontario for over 20 years, and has made it clear that the manufacturing outlook for the Global 7000 and Global 8000 business aircrafts, which will be made in Toronto, remains very strong."
Daoust hinted the Quebec government might be willing to help Bombardier with financing.
But the Fraser Institute's Mark Milke said it's time Bombardier stopped getting taxpayer money and stood on its own..
"Bombardier's going to do whatever it has to survive, whether that's layoffs, or taking taxpayer dollars," he said.
Milke has written a study that points to Bombardier as one of Canada's top beneficiaries of what he calls corporate welfare.
He estimates the company has received more than $2 billion in government money over the years from Industry Canada alone.
Milke calls that a political game.
"It's about saving or creating jobs in some jurisdictions, but as we've seen with Bombardier, there's no guarantee that you'll actually save or create jobs," he said.
With files from The Canadian Press