By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Irving will sink $300 million into upgrades that will make the Halifax Shipyard the “most modern shipyard in North America,” according to company officials, but which come at the cost of layoffs for some.
© The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Workers look on from the bow of a ship as Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the crowd at the Halifax Shipyard in Halifax on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
Demolition of some structures in the shipyard’s north end has already begun, and the upgrades are scheduled to be complete in time for work to begin on the first set of ships ordered under a lucrative federal contract.
Scott Jamieson, vice-president of programs at the shipyard, revealed Wednesday morning that layoffs are expected by September as the shipyard wraps up work on a mid-life refit of patrol vessels.
Jamieson said that Irving is hoping to mitigate the layoffs through commercial contracts, and says the job cuts are necessary to proceed with the construction of new facilities.
He couldn’t give the number of employees to be laid off, but says a number of trades will be affected.
The company hopes some workers will be recalled when work on six to eight Arctic patrol vessels begins in 2015, Jamieson said.
Irving got a $260 million loan from the provincial government in March 2012 to assist with the shipyard’s upgrades.
They include the building of an assault hall and painting facilities.
---- With files from the Canadian Press