The New Brunswick Labour Relations Board is hearing a complaint from the United Steelworkers Union that a manufacturing company in Centreville denied it the opportunity to form a union.

A union drive began at BWS Manufacturing on Sept. 10.

But one week after the union drive began, there were layoffs by the manufacturer of large trucks.

Locked gates

The gates were locked Thursday evening at BWS Manufacturing in Centreville. Twenty-six employees were laid off Sept. 16. (CBC)

One former employee says 24 of the 26 workers who were laid off had signed up to join the union.

However, BWS manufacturing president Randy MacDougall says the layoffs had nothing to do with the union movement.

MacDougall says the company lost three major contracts and was forced to cut staff.

In May 2013, BWS received $1.5-million from the provincial and federal governments to expand the facility.

There were plans to hire 30 additional workers.

The labour board hearing on the union's complaint began last week.