The union representing employees who repair military aircraft in Nova Scotia has confirmed 44 employees have received layoff notices from IMP Aerospace and Defence, and will be "rolling their toolboxes out of the hangars" by Friday.
The unit chair of Unifor Local 2215, Darlene McIvor, said company executives told them some contracts haven't been renewed, and that's why IMP issued the layoff notices last Friday.
She said 35 airframe mechanics, five avionics technicians and four stores controllers at both the Halifax airport and Hammonds Plains locations are losing their jobs.
McIvor said IMP has typically provided steady work, even if it didn`t pay too well. But that view is changing with the announcement.
"They're losing that steadiness now, so it doesn't sit easy with anyone," she said.
In total, McIvor said IMP employs more than 1,200 people in Nova Scotia, including 500 who are unionized. Approximately 10 were laid off last fall at the Hammonds Plains location, but there hadn't been layoffs in the Halifax-area in the previous four or five years, she said.
Some have eight years seniority
McIvor said it was mostly junior employees who received the layoff notices, although some had as many as eight years seniority with the company. She said the layoffs make everyone feel precarious.
"There's also the feeling, you know, once it starts happening, is it the first of many? So that contributes to the overall work environment and your feeling of not being secure in your employment," she said.
Employees with enough seniority will be given the option to bump co-workers in other classifications, if they choose, McIvor said.
"But come Friday there will definitely be 44 people who will be rolling their toolboxes out of the hangars."
All of those laid off will be eligible to collect employment insurance. McIvor said they will no doubt feel a financial impact.
Unifor Local 2215 is already at the table with IMP Aerospace and Defence to negotiate a new contract. The old one expires April 1.