Nfld. & Labrador

Come By Chance refinery owner lays off 128, citing economy

NARL Refining LP, the company that runs the Come By Chance refinery in eastern Newfoundland, has laid off 128 people, citing the upheaval in the global petroleum economy.
Workers at the Come By Chance refinery held a union meeting on Wednesday night where they discussed coming job cuts. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

A union representing hundreds at the Come By Chance refinery says there's anger and sadness among workers, following a company decision to lay off more than a hundred workers.

Glenn Nolan, the president of the local United Steelworkers chapter, says his members became worried about their livelihoods on Wednesday, after NARL Refining LP decided to lay off 128 people.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday it needed to make changes to its workforce to adapt to "economic pressures" and "impending regulatory changes."

North Atlantic says it is responding to the same economic pressures that have "forced many refineries throughout the world to close."

A lot of disappointment

Glenn Nolan says his union membership is worried about the job cuts. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Union members met on Wednesday night, in an emergency meeting that had been originally scheduled to discuss an explosion at the refinery.

Nolan says his members are worried — about their jobs, and whether there will be enough staff to run the refinery safely — but he says the union does not have enough information to calm their fears.

"It's a big concern, it's a lot of stress on a lot of the workers and they gotta go back to work and try to figure this out," said Nolan. "You feel for them."

Nolan says his union represents 386 full-time workers, and another 60 temporary workers. He's been told that 107 workers will be out of a job, but he doesn't know what positions are set to be cut.

He's hoping for more answers from the company in the coming days.

'Committed' to the future

The refinery at Come By Chance is pictured in an undated file image. (CBC)

North Atlantic says it is "committed" to the refinery's future in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"This decision was very difficult, but necessary to secure the refinery's future," the company said in a news release.

"We understand the impact this will have on people and their families, and we have put a number of resources in place to provide support during this time."

One union official told CBC News the cuts are a big loss for the entire province.

With files from Terry Roberts