Vale is entering its “most significant phase” of layoffs in the lead up to the planned shut down of the company’s smelting and refining operations in Thompson, Man., later this summer. The company has sent layoff notices to 169 employees, said Ryan Land, manager of corporate affairs and organizational development with Vale.
Vale has been planning to stop nickel smelting and refining in Thompson for years, and the operations will officially cease July 31, the same day the layoffs are to take effect.
Vale plans to continue its mining and milling operations in Thompson, which had a population of just under 13,000 people in 2016. The city is 650 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Despite the notices, exactly how many workers will be laid off in this round depends on how many employees accept an incentive package offered by the company to either retire or resign before the closure.
Les Ellsworth, president of United Steelworkers Local 6166, said 109 workers have been offered the buyout package. “For every person that takes a package … they’ll rescind one [layoff] letter, so if you had 169 and one person takes the package, now you got 168 and so forth,” he said.
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