Over 700 to lose jobs at Montreal’s Mabe dryer plant: Slumping sales in the States, along with a high Canadian dollar have forced a Mexican multinational to slash 740 Montreal factory jobs, it was announced. The factory had already transferred about 30 percent of its production to Mexico in the spring of 2009, leaving 510 full-time workers employed at the factory, along with 200 part-timers, whose services had not been as much in demand lately. Management issued a press release citing decreased profits due to the high Canadian dollar, as well as the economic slowdown in the United States, where 90 percent of the goods manufactured at the Montreal plant are sold.
According to Mabe, the factory suffered significant losses over the last six years and even if the government had given grants and the unions taken massive wage cuts, it would still not be viable. Mabe Canada, a branch of the Mexican-based multinational, invested heavily in its factory at the corner of Notre Dame and Dickson since 2006. Their union rep said that the workers had already given up a lot and might have given up even more.
“Five years ago our members conceded over five years, $25 million in exchange to get job security for five years and a non- closure agreement for the plant. So they did their part and probably would have been ready to do a bit more, I don’t know, depending on the negotiations,” said Michel Ouimet of the SCEP. “It would have been their decision in the end but right now the position of the employer it’s a done deal it’s a final decision no matter what,” said Ouimet.
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s administration issued a press release soon after stating that, “The city and borough made intense efforts over the last few months to try to keep the factory running. We had meetings with Mabe, the Minister of Economic Development, the Minister of Innovation and Exportation and Investment Quebec to study possible interventions.”
“It’s a sad development for Montreal’s economy, particularly in the east. We’re not giving up, we’ll fight until the end to save these jobs,” said Real Menard, the Borough Mayor of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Almost half the workers will stay until the plant closes for good in 2014. Mabe Canada promised to respect its contractual obligations, including pensions. Production of dryers will be shifted to the United States and Mexico.
Prior to being run by Mabe, the factory at Dickson and Notre Dame had long been used to build appliances under various names, most recently Camco. City of Montreal Opposition Leader Louise Harel issued a press release describing the closure as a “tragic development.” She cited statistics indicating that Montreal had lost 42,000 jobs between May and December in 2011.