A short-term layoff for 25 workers has been issued due to a parts shortage at the Thunder Bay Bombardier facility.
Dominic Pasqualino, Unifor Local 1075 President, that represents the ~950 employees at the facility confirmed the layoffs but added that they will be back to work next week.
Pasqualino says that Bombardier is following the collective agreement, and although it’s unfortunate, this happens with parts sometimes.
“They’re all laid off at the same time. They’re at a couple of workstations. They have the opportunity to get paid throughout this time they’re off. What they can do is make up the time in overtime or they can deduct one day’s pay per pay period so it doesn’t hurt them that bad financially. We’ve made provisions for it.”
The plant has been plagued with issues surrounding parts, especially ones from the company’s Mexico facility.
Pasqualino explains that the current issue is a blend of some parts not arriving on time, or some parts being improper, and mentions that Bombardier has recently been producing parts at the Thunder Bay and Quebec plants, which have resolved most of the issues with parts.
“It’s a complicated car, there are a lot of parts in there” Pasqualino continues “All of these have to come in on time, they have to be of a particular quality”, noting that parts come from all over the world.
Pasqualino claims he is real concerned regarding securing more work at the plant, considering both current contracts are scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, those contracts being the bi-level cars for the GO trains for Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commision streetcars.
Metrolinx and the TTC have publicly expressed concerns regarding Bombardier missing delivery milestones, and the TTC actually engaging in legal actions against Bombardier, as well as potentially banning Bombardier from future work.
“Obviously it doesn’t help,” Pasqualino said. “The product itself is very good and the public loves them. Last year at this time we were only producing one car per month, which is below everybody’s expectations. Now they’re producing four cars per month and we’re hoping to improve on that and increase that speed.”
Pasqualino hopes that the company can secure contract extensions, especially with the TTC in regards to the Rocket subway cars. He believes it’s possible to get more streetcar word.
“We dramatically improved them already. We would like to speed that up even more,” Pasqualino said. “Once we get that going it would be a shame to stop that and not deliver more cars.”
With files from Matt Vis/tbnewswatch