More than 100 layoffs coming at Evraz pipe mill in Regina

More than 100 layoffs are expected at the Evraz Regina tubular mill. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)
More than 100 layoffs are expected at the Evraz Regina tubular mill. (Cory Herperger/CBC - image credit)

Evraz North America will be laying off more than 100 workers at its pipe mill in Regina.

The company expects to issue notices sometime this week, with the layoffs happening in mid-February, according to Michael Yeats, a senior vice president with Evraz North America.

Yeats blames cheap imports for the layoffs.

"There has been a really rapid increase in the number of imports in the Canadian market recently and those imports are being sold oftentimes below our cost, which is costing us market share and pulls away from our order book," Yeats said in a phone call from Calgary.

"Right now we just don't have enough orders to justify our current production levels."

Submitted by Evraz North America
Submitted by Evraz North America

Yeats said the layoffs are temporary and employees have recall rights.

"We follow the collective bargaining agreement and do everything we can to make this as smooth a transition as we can for our employees," Yeats said.

"These [layoffs] weren't expected. The imports coming into the market have had a pretty significant impact on our market and that impact has really come to materialize and come to fruition in the past few weeks."

Evraz North America laid off 170 steelworkers in Regina from May 1 to June 17, 2022  due to 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 idle and we weren't doing anything there," Yeats told CBC in an interview about those layoffs last June.

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

Ryan McKenzie, president of the United Steelworkers Union Local 5890, said layoffs of this size are always worrying, but can be part of the industry.

"Pipelines have had a good stretch but you never want to see people out of work, especially in today's economy," McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the Regina pipe mill would be down to 25 to 30 workers after this new round of layoffs.

The company currently has no large diameter pipe orders in Regina.

Yeats said Monday that he remains optimistic about the Evraz's operations in Regina.

"I think we have a very strong business with good fundamentals and we see a lot of strength in the market long term," Yeats said.

"Especially when we look at how well we're positioned to supply energy transition infrastructure into the future. So we're very well positioned for products to transport hydrogen for example, or products that will be used in carbon capture and sequestration applications."

Yeats said around 30 workers will also be laid off at the company's pipe mill in Camrose, Alta.