Posted on Tuesday April 9, 2019 at 3:25 p.m.
Ivaco lays off workers at L’Orignal steel mill
Chaos in the world steel market has taken its toll at Ivaco Rolling Mills LP as the company announced layoffs at its L’Orignal processing plants.
The company and the United Steelworkers Union (Canada) issued a joint press release April 1. They both confirmed that the company will reduce its employee numbers by the L’Orignal processing plant by 50 full-time positions and blamed the situation in a joint news release on current disruptions in the world steel market and American import tariffs on Canadian steel.
“The steel industry in Canada is currently facing tremendous pressure caused by disruptions in global steel markets due to overcapacity,” stated the release, “U.S. trade actions, and safeguard measures initiated by other countries.”
Will Trower, Ivaco chief financial officer, blamed the tariffs President Donald Trump levied against Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum imports as a critical factor for the company. Trump cited “national security” as the reason for the tariffs but critics within both the U.S. and Canada and Mexico argue that the tariffs are unjustified.
“Canada is one of the most exposed steel markets in the world,” Trower stated, “and the lack of resolution to the U.S. 232 trade action continues to hamper exports and increase flow of diverted steel into Canada, causing significant harm to the industry.”
Richard Leblanc, Eastern Ontario area coordinator for the union, said the United Steelworkers of America (USA) and its Canadian affiliate are both working together to lobby the Trump administration to lift the tariff barriers to steel imports.
“These layoffs are devastating to our members and the community,” Leblanc stated. “As a union we are doing everything we can on both sides of the border to put an end to these illegal and unjustified 232 tariffs imposed by the U.S. Here in Canada, we are urging the finance minister to follow the lead of the European Union and extend the current safeguards, to protect good Canadian steel jobs.”