Ottawa bank note printer plans layoffs

BA International, which has run out of Ottawa since 1866, is ceasing bank note operations due to the increasing popularity and use of the polymer bill.
BA International plans to close its doors by the end of 2012 and all of its Ottawa workforce will be laid off by June. (Google Streetview)

A 145-year-old Ottawa printing company plans to layoff most of its 190 employees, CBC News has learned, as it scales back bank note operations.

BA International, which has existed in Ottawa since 1866, announced Thursday morning they plan to start layoffs in June 2012 and gradually let people go until the end of the year.

The Munich, Germany-based parent company, Gieseke & Devrient, said it is restructuring its bank note printing. BA International currently produces currency including bank notes.

"As a result of changing conditions in the local Canadian bank note market, BA International will cease printing bank notes for the Canadian and international market at the end of 2012," the statement read.

"The introduction of polymer bank notes in Canada significantly changes the local bank note market. Given that these notes are expected to last longer, the requirement to reprint bank notes is expected to drop from 2013 onwards," it continued.

However, the Bank of Canada and BA International have both confirmed to CBC News they are working together to save from 30 to 40 of the 190 jobs in Ottawa. The plan would include BA International performing additional services for the Bank of Canada.

Union angry over pre-Christmas announcement

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Local 588g, one of four unions that represents workers in the Gladstone Avenue office, released a statement condemning the timing of the layoffs.

"I’m shocked that this company would choose a few weeks before Christmas to tell their 190 employees that come June 2012 they would be out of a job," said CEP 588g president Rob Currier, "They’re playing scrooge with the lives and families of those affected."

The other three unions involved are the Teamsters, the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Machinists Union. 

The CEP 588g said the average length of employment for employees it represents at the Ottawa location is 32 years. BA International's parent company said the average length for all of its employees is 17 years.

The unions added they are going to meet at the Ottawa plant to plan the next step, which could include job actions.