GE Peterborough to end manufacturing in November

GE Peterborough will wrap up manufactuing in November, ending 127 years of operations.
GE Peterborough will wrap up manufactuing in November, ending 127 years of operations. File

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of announcing its closure, General Electric Peterborough says its plan to end most manufacturing is on target for the end of September.

“We’re still in production,” said Mike Murno, site leader at the Peterborough plant. “The plan is consistent with what we set out last year. The plan is to end the bulk of manufacturing by the end of Q3 — September.”

READ MORE: General Electric shutting down Peterborough plant in 2018

On Aug. 25, 2017, GE announced it would be closing the plant due to global market conditions that saw demand for large motors decline. The Peterborough plant saw its volume down 60 per cent over the last four years.

The closure meant 358 people would be out of jobs.

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Munro told CHEX News on Friday there are still 230 people at the plant — 150 of them are on active hourly manufacturing.

He said while most people will be ending work at the end of September, some will be kept on until November in order to fulfil existing work orders and specialty jobs. An exact number was not provided.

“In general this won’t affect the bulk of the employees but there will be some that we definitely need here until we complete manufacturing later this year,” he said.

The November deadline will effectively end 127 years of manufacturing which dates back to when Thomas Edison founded the company. At its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were 6,000 employees making electrical and nuclear-related items.

Munro says 50 employees — mainly in engineering and sales — will remain at the main building off Park Street.

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The company is also in the “very early” stages of decommissioning the plant.

READ MORE: Peterborough GE retirees ask province to expedite occupational disease claims

“It’s a long-term project and a lot of decisions have to be made and we’re just beginning it over the next 12 months,” said Munro.

Munro says the company has been actively supporting employees with retraining and counselling services as manufacturing wraps up.

“It’s really unfortunate that decision was made,” said Munro. “I just want to make sure it is understood that it really doesn’t reflect on any of the outstanding folks we have working here. It’s a wonderful place and great people.”

CHEX News made numerous calls to Unifor — the union representing GE workers — but the calls were not returned.

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