The proverbial bread lines are getting longer in Regina as the oil downturn continues to impact jobs here.
By the end of the week, about 160 people will have been laid off from Evraz’s Regina plant in the past few weeks.
The company says about 90 people on the pipe side were served with layoff notices on Friday, to take effect this coming Saturday – though the United Steel Workers local 5890 estimated that number at closer to 130.
Union president Mike Day said in the past few weeks, 60 to 70 people were laid off from the steel operations, with the last round of layoffs taking effect this past Sunday.
In explaining the layoffs, Day said there isn’t much work to be had.
“It’s just, pretty much, we’ve got no orders. There’s not a whole lot of pipelines being built, nobody’s drilling for oil, the price of oil is down.”
In an email, Evraz North America said the layoffs are a necessary production adjustment due to “market demand and unfairly traded and subsidized steel pipe imports”.
Day said the pipe operations have been running alright, but steel hasn’t been running at full production for a while. He cited foreign steel operations coming in and having a big effect.
Regina isn’t the only Evraz mill having problems. Evraz’s pipe mill in Portland was indefinitely idled as of April 9, and Day said more than 230 people will lose their jobs in Calgary when that plant is closed down next week.
“There’s always some rumours of pipelines. They’ve got to do some approval, do this, do that, and hopefully the work comes our way,” said Day.
Evraz said the layoffs on the pipe side in Regina will last three weeks. Day said if people are brought back, it likely won’t be everyone who lost their job, but Evraz wasn’t able to say how many people will be back on the job.