Davie Shipyard facing 800 layoffs, bleak prospects
At least 800 workers from the Davie Shipyards are facing a bleak holiday season as the company is going through another round of massive layoffs this month.
It's anticipated that hundreds more could lose their jobs unless the company wins another federal shipbuilding contract.
On the weekend Premier Philippe Couillard and Bloc Quebecois leader Martine Ouellet took part in a solidarity march with union members and their employer at the factory.
“A lot of our workers are young people with families. They're not going to wait for the jobs to return,” said union leader Pierre Fortier.
The shipyard has just finished building a supply ship for the Canadian Navy, but has no more projects in the pipeline.
“We've got hard times ahead,” said union leader Rejean Guay. “It will be a long Christmas season.”
The company's owner and the employees are hoping the federal government reconsiders and orders a second supply ship built from scratch in order to keep the high-paying, specialized jobs.
But Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the navy does not need a second such vessel, although it may need other vessels as ferries or for the Coast Guard.
“All we're asking is that Quebec gets its fair share,” said Jean d’Amour, the minister responsible for Quebec's maritime strategy.
Other shipyards in Halifax and Vancouver are working on other government contracts, and Davie Shipyards Canada CEO Spencer Fraser of the supply ship project at the shipyard in Levis, Quebec, believes his competitors are preventing those contracts from being altered.
"The hatred that exists between the shipyards is out of this world, they go back generations. I think the other shipyards were hoping Davie would just disappear and be quiet. In five years Davie became the most important shipyard in Canada and it worries them," said Fraser.