45 employees let go over last three weeks
AMHERST – Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell says the new Liberal government is willing to work with officials at LED Roadway Lighting after the company cut 45 employees.
"I've been in constant contact with the company and will be talking to them about what we can do as a government to help," Farrell said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm doing what I can to keep (Economic and Rural Development Minister) Michel Samson and the premier updated on the situation."
Farrell's comments come after the company laid off another 14 employees on Monday. Company officials are saying nothing about the job cuts at one of Amherst’s newest and most successful companies.
Farrell said he believes the cuts are related to orders and he's optimistic the displaced workers will be called back to work once orders are received.
"I don't want to say we're concerned because we are very concerned about any job losses, and I'm very concerned that is has happened at this time of year. It's a horrible time to lose a job, "Farrell said. "Still, I believe this is just a short-term thing and part of a cycle in the industry."
An affected employee said the layoff was a surprise.
“It’s been very tense up there the last few weeks. Every time someone came in there was a fear that this was the day,” said the employee who asked not to be identified. “It still came as a shock, though, because some of us were still pretty busy.”
The employee believes the layoff has to do with a lack of orders, but is confident it will only be a short layoff. Despite this, the employee said, the timing is not the best.
“It’s not a very good time of year for this to be happening, right before Christmas,” the employee said. “My group was told we’d be back in January, but the last group to be let go was told it could be February.”
Calls to LED Roadway offices in Amherst and Halifax were not returned.
Amherst Mayor Robert Small said he's heard nothing official about the job losses, but from what he has heard believes them to be temporary while the company awaits new orders.
"From what I understand, and it's based on rumours, they're just between contracts," the mayor said. "It's unfortunate that it's happening because Christmas is already a time when people's budgets are stretched and every dollar has to count."
The mayor said he has a call into LED, but has yet to receive a response. He will be offering any assistance the town can provide, but is confident the company will remain a key part of Amherst.
"LED has definitely been in growth mode for several years now and I was recently at a reception at which time the company indicated there are some big contracts on the way," Small said.
In January, the province announced a $1-million equity investment in the manufacturer. The investment was part of a $5-million round of investment for working capital to help the company meet demand, expand operations and create new jobs.