Bombardier will lay-off 5,000 employees and sell two of its business units in an effort to save US$250 million.
According to the announcement this morning, the job losses will take place over the next year to 18 months.
It’s expected 3,000 of the lay-offs will take place in Canada’s workforce.
“It’s a sad day”
In Quebec, where the company has 20,000 employees, 2,500 positions, in management and engineering will be cut.
In Ontario, with a workforce of about 6,000, 500 positions will be cut, most of them in the Toronto area.
Bombardier is also selling the Q Series turboprop aircraft program to Longview Aviation Capital, and its flight training company is being sold to CAE.
The deals with Longview and CAE will amount to US$900 million in net proceeds, according to Bombardier.
CEO Alain Bellemare, is working on cutting the net long-term debt of US$9 billion.
The company started in Valcourt, Quebec in 1942 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, making snowmobiles.
Now it has a global workforce of nearly 70,000 employees, making planes and trains for regional airliners, business jets, and urban mass transportation in many cities around the world.
The company has been the recipient of generous loans and payouts from the both the federal and provincial governments.
Reaction in Quebec was swift and angry.
Paul Berube, the interim leader of the Parti Quebecois, described the announcement as a “disaster for employment in Quebec.”
“It’s a sad day but I assured both we will do everything possible to minimize the number of lost jobs,” Legault said. A working committee to manage the transition will meet Monday, he said.
The government will also help workers find new places in the industry. “After all, the aeronautics industry is doing well in Quebec so the minister of the economy has contacted the owners of other aeronautic companies.” Legault said.
“My reaction is one of frustration and I think I share that with everyone in the plants right now who works at Bombardier,” said Dave Chartrand, the Quebec co-ordinator of the aerospace union at Bombardier.
“They’ve announced in a general fashion again, without putting much detail into it, that there will be layoffs in the next 15 to 18 months, that there will be 2,500 in the province of Quebec and 3,000 in Canada, but without saying who, what, when, where. So now you have a workforce of over 15,000 people just in the province of Quebec who all are wondering if I am the one to be affected. It’s nothing to improve the relationship between employer and employee.” he said.
Bombardier is undergoing a five-year restructuring program aimed at growing revenue and profit. It sold a majority stake in its money-losing CSeries jet to Europe’s Airbus, earlier this year.
The company cut thousands of jobs in 2016, but it had hired workers for key programs like its Global 7500 business jet.
(With files from CBC and Radio-Canada)