Siemens closes Tillsonburg plant, 340 jobs lost

Siemens workers gather at the Tillsonburg Community Centre ahead of meeting discussing plant future. Travis Dolynny

Hundreds of people are out of a job in Tillsonburg after Siemens Wind Power Ltd. announced Tuesday it would close its wind blade plant by early 2018.

The closure will result in the loss of 340 jobs.

Rumours of the plant closing had swirled since Sunday when the company sent a phone message to employees inviting them to a mandatory all-employee meeting Tuesday morning and that all production had been cancelled until further notice.

A total of 206 employees are being laid off immediately, with the remaining positions being phased out through the rest of the year.

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Rick Hunt, who’s worked at the plant for three years, told AM980 he and his co-workers are frustrated.

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“There was quite a bit of anger in there because they shut the place down the other night and never really told anybody about it, it was just bang, everything was locked down,” he said.

Speculation of the closure comes just over three years since the company landed a huge contract with the province to supply $850 million in wind turbines north of Goderich. The deal was the province’s largest wind project to date.

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Tillsonburg mayor Stephen Molnar met with company officials shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday to be briefed on the situation and hear first-hand how Siemens plans to support affected employees.

“What’s most important today is to support the people most affected by this announcement — the employees and their families,” said Molnar. “That’s our priority at this moment — to ensure that people have the support and resources they need, and for them to know that their community is standing with them.”

Last fall, the Liberal government suspended plans for more green energy stating the province will not need additional turbines for at least a decade.

“They’re saying it’s because they had to come up with some plans, they were trying to make things work and that was the reason they held on for so long. It all came down to what we figured it would be anyways. The thing that pissed everybody off the most was they just shut everything down, they didn’t say anything to anybody,” said Hunt.

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Union members from Unifor Local 88 made their way to the facility Monday morning to show their support for Siemens staff. Employees at the plant are not unionized.

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