IMP Aerospace Cutting 10 Percent Of Workforce

AMHERST, N.S. (CP) -- Only weeks after landing a lucrative contract to build components for the military's new fleet of helicopters, IMP Aerospace Components is laying off 10 percent of its workforce.

The Amherst, N.S., company informed the union this week of its plan to cut 30 employees.

"Our commercial aerospace customers have had cutbacks in their build rates," David Pearson, the plant's vice-president and general manager, said Wednesday.

"We haven't lost any contracts, but they have cut back their build rates in response to the recession and it has affected our order book."

The layoff comes shortly after IMP Aerospace was awarded a $49-million contract to manufacture fuselage structures and door panels for the CH-147 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter.

The contract was supposed to create 30 jobs at IMP.

Pearson said work on the Chinook contract has just started and it will take time to get to full production. Once that happens, he said, additional resources will be needed.

"I expect the layoffs to be short term. We're working on other contracts right now and we have the Chinook contract that is just spooling up production," Pearson said. "We're hoping that's going to allow us to bring people back to work as soon as possible."

Roy Gilroy, president of Local 4883 of the United Steelworkers of America, was disappointed the layoff was announced shortly after the Chinook contract and just a couple of months after a new labour deal was reached at the company.

He said workers "have purchased new homes, cars and so on and now are without a job."

"People have been asked to work through their vacations to keep the plant on schedule only to find out now that they have no jobs to return to," Gilroy said.

With the reduction, there are 256 employees at IMP.

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