Eighty-four people employees have been laid off from Resco Canada in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge.
According to Plant Manager Stephane Lamothe, “Resco’s business is cyclical in nature” and the company decided on September 28 to idle most of the facility for an estimated period of six months. Lamothe emphasized the plant is not going to close permanently. The workers affected by the layoff at Resco are members of Metallos/United Steel Workers Union Local 6213. Their representative, Michel Crooks, said the price for raw materials Resco needs went up and, “People are shopping elsewhere.” Lamothe would not say if trade tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in the U.S. were a factor but Crooks said Resco uses raw materials that are normally imported to the U.S. from China, which means the company now must pay the tariffs on the goods, which makes the cost of production higher. China is one of the countries Trump has targeted with tariffs.
Five people are still working at the plant, said Crooks. Minimal production is continuing on one machine to fill existing orders so two employees are working on that. Two people are also working on maintenance. Crooks is remaining on the job as the janitor.
Lamothe said all the employees were given proper legal notice about the layoff but was reluctant to say what sort of compensation was offered. Crooks said the workers were given eight weeks’ salary and a service was brought in to help them update their CV’s so they could find other jobs. The employees were also eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Crooks’ description about relations with management was “It’s good,” and “They care.” Crooks did say that a few of the employees have already found work elsewhere.
Crooks is hoping for new orders to help get Resco up and running again. Lamothe said he could not exactly say what it would take for all the employees to be called back to work but emphasized, “It’s not a permanent closure.” Crooks speculated that production could stay idle at the plant for even seven to eight months.
Grenville-sur-la-Rouge Mayor Tom Arnold said he had a meeting with Resco management where the situation was fully explained to him. “It’s normal at this time of year that they often shut things down,” he said. The mayor said Resco is one of the largest employers in the municipality, and was confident that it will be fully operational again once enough orders have been received.
The plant, which makes refractory products that include fire bricks for steel furnaces, is located on Route 148 in the Marelan area of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge.