TRURO - Moving part of the operations of Intertape Polymer to the United States will not lead to significant job losses to Truro employees, although a "handful" of workers will be affected, a company spokesman says.
"The corporate message that I need to convey is that most, if not all, the people will not be laid off," Rick Leckner said by telephone from Montreal.
"I can only tell you the plan is to offer employment to the majority of people in other parts of the plant to minimize to a very small amount the number of actual layoffs."
The Montreal-based company announced Tuesday it is moving the Truro plant's shrink film production to another company facility in Tremonton, Utah, as part of a North American reorganization to bring those operations under one roof and create a "centre of excellence."
The Engineered Coated Products LP (ECP) division, which creates woven products, will continue to be manufactured out of the Truro site, located on Abbey Road in the Truro Industrial Park, and another plant in Langley, B.C.
While the company does not provide precise employment numbers, he said between 250 and 300 people are employed at the Truro plant.
Of those, 27 workers are employed in the shrink-wrap department.
"There will be some attrition so that the plan is to have very few people affected by this," Leckner said. "We expect to absorb most, if not all, of the employees involved."
Leckner said the expectation is that towards the end of this year and early next year the shrink-wrap workers will be absorbed into other parts of the Truro plant, primarily, the woven manufacturing sector.
One worker, who has been employed at the Truro site for more than 25 years, said word circulating throughout the plant is that portions of it could be shut down for up to eight weeks.
"We're pretty worried," said the individual who did not want to be identified for fear of job reprisal.
"We're supposed to have a big meeting today ... Right now, we're stock piling. Like, we have no orders. There's a lot of people worried."
Leckner said he could not respond directly to that information.
"I can't confirm that it is going to close down for eight weeks," he said. "I can tell you that over a six- to eight-month period this will all sort itself out and the objective is to integrate most, if not all of the people, into the woven side. There is still a very thriving business there in woven and that will continue."
Part of the company's restructuring will also see a plant in Kentucky closed and that production shifted to Illinois.
Gross savings by the moves are expected to be more than $5 million in 2013 and approximately $6 million in each subsequent year.
The company plans to take charge of between $14 million and $16 million in the second fiscal quarter to reflect some of the costs, including severance pay, of its reorganization plans.
Intertape currently employs 1,800 people in 19 locations, the majority of which are in North America. One manufacturing plant is located in Europe.
The Truro plant was established in 1968 in a facility consisting of less than 100,000 square feet. The site currently consists of 330,000 square feet. Its first product was the common garbage bag. Besides shrink wrap it now manufactures woven plastic tapes.
Last winter ECP received more than $52,000 from the province's Productivity Investment Program to upgrade manufacturing equipment.