CHURCHILL – The mayor of a northern Manitoba community is outraged over the sudden layoffs of over 40 people.
The Port of Churchill announced yesterday dozens of people are being laid off, and there will be no grain shipment this season — only freight service.
Churchill Mayor Michael Spence tells 680 CJOB, he’s angry.
“No warning at all. It came out of nowhere. It was totally unexpected,” Spence said, with a noticeable air of resignation in his voice. “It’s just a hard pill to swallow here.”
The port is owned by OmniTrax Canada, who has not yet commented on the layoffs. OmniTrax has been trying to sell the port for a year because it’s not generating the shipping profits it hoped.
“This is the disappointing part of it: the lack of communication. This should not be happening,” Spence vented. “We’ve reached out many times in terms of, if there’s issues, how can we work together, how can we effectively put together a plan for a busy port season.”
It’s not clear yet what’s going to happen with the grain that was destined to be shipped out of the Port of Churchill. Spence says this is a byproduct of what he feels is a bigger problem in Canada.
“We tend to lack the vision that’s required so that we can be a country that can continue to import and export.”
Spence believes there’s going to be a surplus of grain in Canada, so there should be a busy season at the port.
The province is expected to comment on the layoffs this afternoon.
Photo courtesy Port of Churchill website