December 11, 2018
ion rail, LRT Kitchener Waterloo, Bombardier,
A Bombardier built train sits at the uptown Waterloo station as city workers run more tests. Photo by Terry Foster, Spoke News

Bombardier Inc. announced on Monday that it has secured a contract for for 153 rail cars for the Montreal transit system, but that the $281 million order will not prevent any of the company’s planned layoffs.

On Nov. 8, the company announced it will be laying off 5,000 workers globally, including 500 in Ontario and 2,500 in Quebec, as part of a restructuring plan as the company attempts dig out from nearly $9 billion (US) in long-term debt.

Chief executive officer Alain Bellemare also announced that the company has made a deal to sell off its Q Series turboprop aircraft line to Longview Aviation Capital for $300 million (US), as well as its corporate aircraft training business to CAE Inc. for $645 million, so that it can reduce costs to focus on its trains and business jet lines.

Bombardier is the company responsible for supplying cars to the new Ion light rail system in Waterloo Region and claims that the layoffs will not affect its delivery schedule. A statement from senior advisor, Jade St-Jean said,

Bombardier has always been fully committed to support the Region and the people of Waterloo,” said senior adviser Jade St-Jean. “We put together a very aggressive schedule and deployed all the necessary resources to meet the milestones, including hiring more employees in Ontario and investing at our Kingston manufacturing site. So far, we met all our key milestones and we are on the right path to deliver all 14 cars with specialized equipment in Waterloo by the end of 2018 as promised.”

The company has already laid off 14,500 workers over the past three years, as well as sold off over 50 per cent of its C-Series regional jet line to Airbus. It has also been under scrutiny due to a company annoucement last year that top executives would receive bonuses worth more than $33 million, to be paid out by 2020.

Bombardier has a long history of receiving government bailout loans, totalling over $1 billion in taxpayers’ money, to which they still owe over three-quarters of a billion dollars.

 

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