Forty-six hourly employees have been permanently laid off from the Mosaic Potash Mine in Colonsay.
The company’s Sarah Fedorchuk confirmed the pink slips were handed out Monday.
“We have great faith that Colonsay has a great future. We just needed to curtail production a little bit to make them more competitive with other Saskatchewan potash sites,” she said.
But Mike Pulak with the United Steelworkers Union said Mosaic’s reasoning for the layoffs doesn’t make sense, adding supply and demand is a day-to-day issue.
“You usually make a long-term commitment to your employees, not a day-to-day commitment,” he said. “It seems to be that they report in some aspects to other areas that they’re robust, but then they turn around and tell local people that they have to lay off.”
He said it’s disappointing because some of the laid off workers were just hired six months ago. The union asked the company to offer early retirement packages in order to retain the younger workforce, but Pulak said only 22 of the 46 employees took the package because Mosaic’s offer was too low.
Although the layoffs comprise a small percentage, Mosaic realizes the impact it has on people’s lives and is taking the move very seriously, Fedorchuk said.
The layoffs won’t come into effect until December 18.
-with files from CKOM News’s François Biber and Bre McAdam