Unifor, Truro and Colchester chamber react to Truro carpet plant closure

The Atlantic Regional Director of Unifor says their nearly 200 members at Tarkett North America in Truro are in shock after they were told Tuesday afternoon the facility will close July 16th as work is shifted to the United States.

Lana Payne says they have members with as many as 46 years at the company, adding that employees are devastated the company is abandoning them, the plant and the community.

In a news release, Unifor says after workers gathered for the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, a page-long internal memo was distributed that explained the company had expanded operations in the U.S. and would be relocating the work to Georgia.

Local 4612 President Melissa Martell says, "This announcement has quite literally pulled the rug out from under us, but now we have to focus on supporting each other and ensuring our members get every penny they deserve."

Unifor says Tarkett gave every indication during bargaining last fall that they were committed to the plant, during which time regular pay increases and other gains were made in the collective agreement.

The union says a job posting went up in the plant as early as Monday morning, and there have been new hires in the facility in the past couple of months.

Meanwhile, the president of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce says it's "troubling news" that jobs at a major manufacturer in the town are moving out of province.

In a news release, Ron Smith says their immediate concern is for the people who will be out of work in July.

He says, "These are not just employment statistics, these are moms and dads, families rooted in this community being impacted."

The chamber says it believes the closure will have a financial impact of well in excess of $10 million to the local economy immediately upon closure, which doesn't include the services and resources from the supply chain.

Smith says government has a responsibility to acknowledge the competitiveness of Nova Scotia's taxes and regulations impacting the business climate to entice the expansion or creation of new business.

The chamber points to the forecasted closure of the RCMP Operational Communication Centre, which is anticipated to put 55 people out of work in Truro, and the situation with Northern Pulp where a possible closure could result in thousands of job losses in the forestry industry across the province.