May 28, 2014 7:32 pm

Politicians fuzzy on Manitoba eyeglass plant closure

WINNIPEG – Eyeglass manufacturer Luxottica will no longer have a plant in Canada.

All of the eyeglass company’s 200 Canadian employees, who work at a plant in Winnipeg, will be laid off and the business will move to the United States effective Thursday, Luxottica announced Wednesday.

The details of the closure, however, were anything but clear to government officials.

“”We were not given any warning on that. It came as a surprise,” Premier Greg Selinger said Wednesday.

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“This was obviously a decision driven by a very major organization to relocate their facilities,” he added. “It’s impacting jobs in Canada. I’m sure we’re all disappointed we’re losing jobs out of North America.”

But provincial Labour Minister Erna Braun said Luxottica filed their papers with the government back in April.

“It was something we were informed would be happening and the time frame was actually just a few weeks that they were starting the process of laying off the workers,” she said.

At no point did the company ask the province for incentives to stay here, Braun said.

Opposition leader Brian Pallister said he isn’t surprised Selinger wasn’t informed.

“This is a premier that dodges bad news. I have to say I’m not surprised,” Pallister said.

The plant shuts down Thursday. Employees told Global News they were instructed by management not to speak to media.

Luxottica’s only Canadian plant was located in Winnipeg. The company’s products will continue to be distributed through a partner in Toronto, as well as facilities in the United States.

READ MORE: Eyeglass maker Luxottica closes Winnipeg plant

© Shaw Media, 2014

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