The company involved in the deadly Quebec train derailment has laid off one-quarter of its workforce in the province.

A union representing employees at the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway says the company has laid off 19 of its 75 workers in Quebec.

The laid-off employees — 17 workers and two managers — received their notices Tuesday.

Daniel Roy, the Quebec director of the union, has denounced what he calls the company's cavalier attitude. He says MMA did not offer any advance notice.

In his view, the railway was already operating with the minimum number of workers.

Roy calls it a bad decision to lay off employees who are involved in the inspection and maintenance of MMA's rolling stock.

Meantime, the new federal transport minister Lisa Raitt will visit Lac-Mégantic this afternoon to get a first-hand look at the devastated community.

A train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic on July 6 and exploded, triggering a massive blaze that engulfed much of the downtown core.

Search crews have found the remains of 38 people, with another 12 missing and presumed dead.

Raitt will no doubt face tough questions about moving the railway tracks out of town.

Elected officials from Lac-Mégantic and surrounding communities expressed their concern on Tuesday at having rail tracks running through their towns.

Many locals also have voiced questions about federal train regulations, and about what role the federal government might play in reconstruction.