Franco Cazzola, general manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations, made a virtual presentation to members of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce Nov. 4 about recent job cuts and additional upcoming changes intended to make the company’s mine and mill here more competitive.
Now on his third stint as a Thompson resident – he also lived here in the mid-1960s and later from 2005 to 2009 as an employee of Inco and then Vale – Cazzola said 103 layoffs and position eliminations as well as 41 early retirements announced last month were only the first step in an effort to reduce production costs, though he admitted they were the most painful one.
“We’ve just started our journey and the first part was the workforce reduction unfortunately and it affects people and families in the community,” he said, noting that the workforce now includes about 489 hourly employees and 610 employees overall, nearly 700 less than before the smelter and refinery shut down in 2018 and Birchtree Mine was put on care and maintenance the previous year.
“We’ve had a very challenging two weeks in the community and we don’t take those decisions lightly. We do care about people and we know that a lot of people have been impacted.”
The Manitoba general manager also said he was confused by comments made by Thompson MLA Danielle Adams to the Thompson Citizen about Thompson operations being run out of Sudbury.