Bombardier may lay off hundreds at its Quebec railway plant if no orders come in
Company was recently excluded from contract to supply trains for Montreal's light-rail system
The railway division of Bombardier Inc. says losing out on a large electric train contract in Montreal may force it to lay off workers this fall at its plant in La Pocatiere, Que., unless it wins some new contracts.
Spokesman Eric Prud'homme describes the situation for the facility as perilous once the contract to make new subway cars for Montreal's metro system ends.
He says it is "five after midnight" for the plant over the next 12 months, putting at least half of the plant's 600 jobs on the line.
Local elected officials and workers are calling for an emergency meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard on the future of the plant.
They asked Couillard Monday to update his recent comments that there would soon be work and other contracts for this site, even though Bombardier was not selected for the contracts of the Metropolitan Express Network (REM).
The Quebec multinational was excluded from the contract to supply trains, which was won by a consortium involving Alstom Transport Canada and a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin.
No local content requirement was set by CDPQ Infra, the subsidiary of Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, which is leading the $6.3-billion project.
Bombardier also lost out last year on a contract to build cars for Montreal's commuter transportation network, which ordered 24 new train cars from the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation after lowering Canadian content requirements to 15 per cent from 25 per cent in prior contracts.
Prud'homme says La Pocatiere could benefit from an extension of the Montreal Metro contract, which is replacing aging cars on only half the subway network.