Nova Scotia

Halifax Shipyard to lay off 50

Halifax Shipyard is laying off 50 workers on Friday, CBC News has learned.
Halifax Shipyard will lay off 50 workers on Friday, CBC News has learned. (CBC)

Halifax Shipyard is laying off 50 workers on Friday, CBC News has learned.

Mary Keith, a spokeswoman for owner J.D. Irving Ltd., said in an email the April 1 layoffs are in addition to 40 other layoffs that have taken place since March 11.

"The workforce will go up and down from week to week, as the needs of the current projects in the yard change and are completed. We move workers from project to project whenever their skills match the project's requirements," she wrote. "Workers will be recalled as new work commences."

Keith said several projects have recently been completed, including an offshore supply vessel, a refit of HMCS Preserver, HMCS Ville de Quebec HMCS Iroquois, MV Holiday Island, and MV Leif Erickson.

"We are now concentrating on building new mid-shore patrol vessels for the coast guard as well as the refit for HMCS Halifax," Keith wrote. "The workforce will likely increase again when the next vessels under the frigate life extension program come in."

The layoffs come as Premier Darrell Dexter announced Thursday that Irving Shipbuilding will get help from the Nova Scotia government to land contracts under the national shipbuilding procurement strategy.

The provincial government used its throne speech to signal it would "champion" the shipyard as it competes to become one of two centres to build combat and non-combat vessels under a federal plan valued at $35-billion.

Financial report

Dexter later told reporters that help could include financial support for the lobbying effort.

"There is no request before us for any additional money," he said. "We have already assisted the shipyard in their efforts to modernize and we would look at other requests if they came forward."

Dexter said it was clear Nova Scotia had to launch a lobbying effort as vigorous as those found in other provinces competing for the contracts or it simply wouldn't get the required attention from federal bureaucrats.

"We need to make sure we are front and centre on it," Dexter said.

Irving Shipbuilding is competing against Newfoundland's Kiewit Offshore Services, Vancouver Shipyards in B.C., Seaway Marine and Industrial of St. Catharines, Ont. and Quebec's Davie Yards.

With files from The Canadian Press