Decline at the Alstom factory in Thunder Bay, in lack of contracts

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Decline at the Alstom factory in Thunder Bay, in lack of contracts

The Alstom, formerly Bombardier, plant has produced several transit vehicles for Toronto.

Jobs are down and machinery is being dismantled at multinational Alstom's Thunder Bay plant after it failed to secure a contract leader in public transit in Toronto.

Alstom is part of a consortium that bid for the Ontario Line contract, a public transit project in Toronto. The overall value of the contract was approximately $9 billion, of which more than $2 billion was for railcars.

These railcars could have been built at the factory Alstom of Thunder Bay, had the offer been successful.

Things are tough at Alstom's Thunder Bay plant, says Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075, because about 150 people are employed there right now, working on two small projects. From 2011 to 2019, between 700 and 1,300 people were employed at the factory, he said.

Mr. Pasqualino says Alstom is currently removing machinery from the foundry and machine shop.

Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075, laments the labor situation at the Alstom plant.

I suspect that, as he doesn&#x27 There is no paint involved in these two contracts, as soon as we finish the paint we will also lose the paint shop. That's a lot of skills that will leave this factory, he laments.

It's very difficult to get machines back into the factory, he adds.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Alstom said it is adapting the plant to better serve customers and meet market needs.

As part of our strategy to be more competitive, we are optimizing our operations by retaining critical and efficient equipment, while disposing of some older equipment from the factory to give us the flexibility to quickly pivot and with agility to meet future market needs without compromising the plant's capabilities and expertise, the statement read.

In its statement , Alstom said current contracts will sustain a workforce of around 400 until the end of 2024 and that it is striving to obtain other contracts for the factory.

Thunder Bay—Superior North NDP MP Lise Vaugeois says the Alstom plant is at risk of closing its doors completely by 2025 if no new contract is signed.

Ms. Vaugeois said she was deeply disappointed by the outcome of the bid process for the Ontario line.

I was very shocked and devastated to learn that a contract of such magnitude was awarded to workers in Japan, indicates- she.

The fact that the province lowered the Canadian content requirement to 10% for this project, when the percentage is normally more like 25%, contributed to the failure to win the contract, according to Mr. Pasqualino.

Ms. Vaugeois says another major Toronto Transit Commission contract for the subway will be appealed. #x27;offers soon, but the exact timing has not yet been determined.

This contract is supposed to meet the 25% Canadian content threshold. But the problem is that Toronto has found its share of funding, but neither the province nor the federal government has yet found theirs, she says.

The submission of a bid for the contract cannot take place, and therefore there is no way to go from there; before for the people who work at Alstom at the moment, she adds.

Lise Vaugeois, NDP MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North, worries that the lack of contracts have long-term effects.

Ms. Vaugeois believes that Alstom's Thunder Bay plant needs the contract quickly.

It takes at least two years from when a contract is signed to when work begins, because they have to acquire equipment and make sure they have the right hand- work,” she explains.

In the meantime, the factory is losing tradespeople, she says.

When workers are laid off for such a long period, it is obvious that they will look for work elsewhere, she says.

So it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, if the contracts aren't there, the workers leave. If contracts suddenly appear, workers are no longer available, says Ms. Vaugeois.

Thunder Bay-Atikokan Conservative MPP Kevin Holland says there is hope for the company even though it didn't get the big contract in Toronto.

He specifies that this contract was in preparation long before he was elected. Since arriving at Queen's Park, he says he has spoken with the Department of Infrastructure and the Minister of Transportation [Caroline Mulroney] about this transit project and others to come.

There's a lot of work ahead regarding the revitalization of Toronto's subway coaches, he explains. It will create excellent job opportunities for the Alstom plant.

Mr. Holland says he senses excitement from Alstom representatives in this regard, whom he met in Toronto on Wednesday.

The loss of jobs at Alstom is devastating to the city's economy, says Carlos Santander-Maturana, chairman of the Thunder Bay and District Labor Council.

The Thunder Bay plant has produced light trains for other projects in the province.

These are workers who have a mortgage. They pay for trucks or snowmobiles, he says.

They don't go abroad for vacation, they work and play in the city, and that ability to work and earn a decent wage is gone, the x27; local economy will suffer, he adds.

Mr. Santander-Maturana, said he was disappointed with the province's lowering of the Canadian content requirements for the contract.

If you compare with the situation in the United States, where there is 70% American content when they bid for federal government money, it's; is a huge gap between what we do here and protecting the American economy, and we should and must do better, he believes.

Mr. Pasqualino says Ontario's usual requirement of 25% Canadian content is pretty pathetic.

I know it got us some work here in the past, but if they really want to keep that money in our economy, they should increase the Canadian content and make sure the money stays in Canada and in Ontario, so they can pay for health care. health, teachers and all the other things the government doesn't seem to have the money for, he adds.

With information from Frédéric Projean and CBC's Kris Ketonen

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