Mosaic confirms layoffs of more than 300 employees at Colonsay
Mosaic has confirmed that 330 full time workers are being laid off at the potash mine in Colonsay.
The workers will be laid off until Jan. 3, 2017, and 32 people will be kept on at the mine to keep the operation on standby and to perform safety checks.
The company says the layoffs are due to a slowdown of potash demand. Production is being moved to the sister mine in Esterhazy, which is a bigger mine, and can produce more tonnage.
A company spokesperson added that the Colonsay operation is a higher cost facility.
"We continue to execute the difficult but necessary actions to ensure Mosaic will be as competitive as possible across the business cycle," said President and CEO Joc O'Rourke in a written release. "Lower global potash demand and market prices require that we curtail production. Idling Colonsay will enable us to meet our customers' needs while reducing our production costs."
The United Steel Workers Local 7656 members at Colonsay voted against a contract on Monday after being without a contract since May of 2015, but Mosaic says the layoffs are unrelated.
“This announcement is in no way related to the labour status,” company spokesperson Sarah Fedorchuck told CTV News. “Esterhazy just voted down a contract a couple of weeks ago.”
Fedorchuck added that the company has been bargaining in good faith, and intends to continue to do so.
The union says there was extra security at the site on Wednesday, and employees were not allowed to go to their lockers, and were ushered into separate meeting rooms around 7 a.m.
The union says some people will get paid in lieu of notice; some people will get between five to eight weeks of payment.