'Bandits with ties': Union calls on Quebec to protect Bombardier jobs
Published Friday, November 16, 2018 11:51AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 17, 2018 7:12AM EST
Quebec’s new economy minister says his government is open to investing more money into Bombardier, after the announcement of layoffs and a financial review.
“I want to be there if there's a requirement for us to be involved, because the importance of that cluster for Quebec, I don't need to tell you is very, very important,” said Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon at an event at McGill University on Friday.
On Thursday, Premier Francois Legault expressed scant hope for Bombardier's CRJ series unless it finds an international partner, with about 1,000 jobs hanging in the balance in Mirabel.
Hours later, Quebec's financial market regulator the AMF announced it is reviewing Bombardier's executive compensation plan, calling on the plane-and-train maker to suspend all related trades, to which the company agreed.
The Montreal-based company has said that the plan -- announced last August shortly before its share price embarked on a descent of more than 60 per cent -- allows some of its senior executives to sell shares in some circumstances as an added incentive in performance-based compensation.
The head of Quebec's aerospace union is calling on the province to intervene in Bombardier, which announced 5,000 layoffs last week, half of which will be in Quebec.
In an open letter, David Chartrand is demanding rapid intervention that obtains commitments from the company around employment levels.
“We can no longer stand to see these bandits with ties stealing from us and giving themselves big wages, close the shop and good riddance,” he wrote.
Fitzgibbon said that Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare is working to find new positions for the laid-off workers and said the government may help, though he wouldn’t confirm exactly how.
“It's a difficult question without a program, without a plan. There's no requirement for us to invest – but I made sure to Mr. Bellemare would there be an opportunity, we would be open for business. This cluster is of paramount importance to Quebec,” said Fitzgibbon.
Ottawa, too, is open to investing more money.
“As a federal government, we are going to continue to support the economy across Canada and the aerospace sector. We know how important it is,” said David Lametti, parliamentary secretary to the minister of economic development.
On Friday, Bombardier shares it a 52-week low by falling 16.3 per cent to $1.75 in mid-morning trading.