170 Regina Evraz steel mill workers laid off since May, company says more expected

·2 min read
Evraz confirmed it currently employs around 1,200 workers in Saskatchewan, and roughly 2,200 employees across Canada. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)
Evraz confirmed it currently employs around 1,200 workers in Saskatchewan, and roughly 2,200 employees across Canada. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)

A senior vice-president within Evraz North America says the company has laid off 170 steel mill workers in Regina since May and more layoffs are likely in the coming months.

Michael Yeats told CBC News Friday that the layoffs are due to the company idling its large-diameter pipe fabrication work.

"It's a very cyclical business and it is very project-based. In fact, all of 2021 that operation was idled and we weren't doing anything there," Yeats said in a phone call from Regina.

"We're doing very well as a business. It's just that particular product line."

Yeats said the company was able to start the large-pipe fabrication back up late last year. It ran for a few months to complete a project for Trans Canada, since renamed TC Energy, before idling again.

He said the company expects 50 to 75 more layoffs within its joint-venture operations in Regina in the coming months.

"That's really tied to the exact same projects that they're doing — finishing and coating work for that particular large diameter line pipe for that project for Trans Canada," he said.

CBC News has reached out to United Steelworkers Local 5890, the union representing Evraz mill employees, but had not received a response as of publication time.

Some workers moved within company

Evraz currently employs around 1,200 workers in Saskatchewan and roughly 2,200 employees across Canada.

Yeats said the company has invested in research and development for the transition to clean energy.

"With things like hydrogen transportation, carbon capture utilization and sequestration applications, we've got a suite of products that we've developed that are very well poised to serve that market," he said.

"We believe as that market continues to grow in Canada, it will go a long way to help us level out and balance the operations of large pipe fabrication here in Regina."

Yeats said some of Evraz's large-pipe workers have transitioned to the company's other steel-marking operations in Regina. Those employees are not included in the layoff numbers.

About 16 others, he said, were able to accept different positions at the company's Calgary facility.

Yeats noted that employees receiving layoffs were and will be offered "some sort of extension" of benefits for a period of time as per the collective bargaining agreement.

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