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Bombardier to lay off 550 workers at Canadian plant

Business jet and public transport equipment manufacturer Bombardier is laying off half of the 1,100 employees at its Thunder Bay, Ontario, railway car plant, according to a Canadian government source.

The move appears to be part of the company’s ongoing downsizing plan, which has seen it sell its regional jet program to Mitsubishi and a majority stake in its C series program to Airbus.

The manufacturer has said that such cutbacks are so that it can focus on its more profitable business jet and passenger rail car divisions, although it declined to comment on these latest job cuts.

“Our government has spoken to executives at Bombardier to express our disappointment that their company has taken this step,” Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.

“We urge the company to work with the provincial government to come to an agreement that would see jobs remain at the Thunder Bay plant.”

Local union president Dominic Pasqualino warned of further job losses to come as two major contracts – Toronto Transit Commission streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars – are set to wind down by the end of the year.

“This business is cyclical. Things go up, things go down. But the thing is, it doesn’t look like things are going to go back up,” said Pasqualino.

“Now you’re looking at these people moving from Thunder Bay or working in the logging industry or the mining industry. It’s very disruptive.”