Shock continues to ripple out from the small town of Granton in Pictou County as the community confronts uncertainty a day after the impending loss of 500 jobs was announced at the Michelin tire factory.
Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. announced Monday that it plans to eliminate the jobs over the next 18 months, marking a major blow to the rural area’s economy.
The company, which is Nova Scotia's largest private manufacturer, says the market for small car and truck tires is dropping and it’s too expensive to upgrade the 43-year-old Granton plant to make larger tires.
Contract workers filing into the factory on Tuesday didn't want to speak to reporters, but said everyone in the region is worried about the blow back.
Robin Fraser says it's not just Michelin workers who are worried. She said her job at RP Hawboldt machining is in jeopardy.
"The spinoff is going to be phenomenal. A lot of people do a lot of work for Michelin… it's going to affect all of Pictou County," Fraser told CBC's As It Happens. "It's a big shock to everyone."
"People aren't going to be spending money. People aren't going to be making major purchases because of being so unsure," she said.
Fraser, like many people in the area, has multiple family connections to Michelin. Two of her siblings and a niece work at the plant and are losing their jobs.
"They're wondering what they’re going to do and how they're going to make it," she said.
Grant Ferguson, the president of Michelin Canada, said severance packages are available and affected workers will be able to relocate to two other Nova Scotia plants. One is in Waterville, which is expanding, and the other is in Bridgewater.
Fraser said that's a tough move for people with small children.
"When you have family and kids and commitments here it’s just not that easy to get up and go," she said.
The first Michelin workers to lose their jobs will be those working in the small tire section of the plant. Close to 200 jobs will be cut by June 30, 2014. Another round of layoffs will hit next year with 300 employees being cut by June 30, 2015 from other areas of the plant.
Michelin is still going ahead with upgrades at its Granton plant. The company will spend $10 million on upgrades to its rubber mixing operation, the second largest within Michelin.