45 workers laid off at Amherst's LED Roadway Lighting
CEO Peter Conlon calls cuts a 'restructuring initiative' to maintain competitiveness
LED Roadway Lighting in Nova Scotia has laid off 45 workers from its assembly operation in Amherst, in what the company calls a "restructuring initiative" to remain competitive.
CEO Peter Conlon said his company needs a global supply chain for lighting parts — often combined with local assembly to avoid import tariffs — to compete in Asia, the Caribbean and the U.K. in the international marketplace for power-saving street lights.
"The LED conversion market is demanding it of us," Conlon told CBC News on Tuesday.
"Those customers require local content in order to be able to compete."
Facility to continue operations
Conlon said the Amherst facility will continue to build lights for sale in Canada and the U.S., as well as product development and short runs of specialized lighting — but it will evolve into the company's "global operations centre."
"We will have people there with deep skills in logistics, production planning, customs, managing the efforts of partners, new product introduction, documentation, all higher up the value chain than the actual manufacturing of the product," he said.
Conlon said LED Roadway Lighting still employs between 90 and 100 people in Amherst, and he expects that number to grow as international operations expand.
Amherst mayor optimistic
The town's mayor, David Kogon, said there may be other jobs created in Amherst in the future in areas like design, logistics and inventory management.
"Apparently with their international markets they have to do more manufacturing within some of those countries so it's going to be a shift," he said.
"Some of the manufacturing won't be done in Canada that has been, but other things will be done and so we may not feel as much of an impact."
Kogan said the town has a good working relationship with the company and "that they still have a long, good future in Amherst."
"We're very optimistic to keep working with them," he said.