Bombardier layoffs pending in Thunder Bay

Bombardier says the temporary layoff of nearly 50 employees at its Thunder Bay plant is due to a few issues.

Parts shortage and production changes being blamed for work interruption

Bombardier workers being temporarily laid off are finishers at the plant, primarily on the bi-level and LRV production lines.

Bombardier says the temporary layoff of nearly 50 employees at its Thunder Bay plant is due to a few issues.

Notices went out to 23 employees this week and another 26 will get notices up to Jan. 12.

Bombardier spokesperson Stephanie Ash said the workers being laid off are finishers at the plant, primarily on the bi-level and LRV production lines.

Ash said one of the reasons for the layoff is a parts shortage, but there are also some changes being made at the plant.

“We are ramping up for full-series production of the new enhanced bi-level car, and that starts very early in 2015,” she said.

“So there is some reorganization that's taking place so we can get ready for that.”

Ash said Bombardier expects all employees will be back to work early in the new year.

Some have suggested that if more parts production was done locally, parts shortages could be avoided.

But Ash said having “everything done in-house” is not possible “as a global company.”

“We have a business model that is there for a reason — so that we can be a profitable and competitive site."

The union that represents the workers said it is in discussion with the company on how to improve the movement of parts to Thunder Bay.

"There's always an issue when you have your parts and your resources coming from various places you don't always have them and don't have as much control when you need them,” Unifor spokesperson Andy Savela said.

“This has been a matter of mutual concern with the parties," Savela added.

“And they are sorting through a few things. So hopefully what that means is we are all going to get back to work when the parts finally arrive.”

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