Engel Canada To Close Plant, Slash Hundreds Of Jobs

Low demand causes injection-molding machine manufacturer to close its Ontario, Canada plant this spring, resulting in 225 workers losing their jobs.

GUELPH, Ontario — Engel Canada will slash 225 jobs when it closes its facility in this southern Ontario city this spring, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Steve Braig, president and CEO of Engel North America, said all manufacturing at the plant will cease by the end of May.

The company will retain 33 employees in other departments, including sales, service, spare parts and training.

Braig said the retained staff ''will move to a more conducive facility either within Guelph or in close proximity to Guelph.''

The company is trying to sell the sprawling plant, which was established in the mid-1970s.

Engel employees were called to a meeting about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and given the bad news.

''It has not been an easy decision for anyone,'' Braig said.

The company manufactures injection-molding machines for other industries, but Braig said there has been a dramatic downturn in demand over the last several years because of ''a profound exit of manufacturing activity from North America.''

In 2000 there were approximately 6,200 such machines manufactured in North America. By last year, this demand had dropped to about 3,000 machines.

Over the last several years Engel Canada ''(has) been trying to rightsize and downsize our operations,'' Braig said, but with half as many customers as a decade ago it was impossible to keep the plant afloat.

Most of the manufacturing work done in Guelph will be moved to Austria, while assembly operations will be handled at Engel's American headquarters in York, Pennsylvania.

Some employees with ''specialized knowledge'' will be offered positions at the York plant, Braig said.

The company will unveil its ''ramp-down'' plan over the next month, speaking to employees who might be offered transfers and helping other workers ''transition ... into opportunities outside Engel,'' the CEO said.

But he emphasized manufacturing jobs will not be phased out between now and late May, adding the company still has a number of contracts it must honor before the doors are closed for the last time.
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