A notice of 25 permanent layoffs was sent out to all Westmoreland Mining Estevan employees on Feb. 18 and quickly spread in the community through social media.
According to the information provided in the notice, due to lowering of its coal sales forecast, the company had to reconsider and reduce their business plan for 2020.
Up to 25 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local 7606 employees in operations and maintenance are to be permanently laid off in the near future.
At this point, hourly employees were offered the opportunity to apply for voluntary layoff and/or early retirement to minimize the impact. Workers willing to step forward are asked to inform the human resources department by Feb. 28. All voluntary layoffs and early retirements will be considered, and the list of those who will be granted voluntary separation is to be revealed on March 4.
After that, individual severance notices will be issued to the least senior personnel affected. All company approved voluntary and permanent lay offs will be in accordance to Article 7.04 of the UMWA/Estevan Mine Collective Agreement.
It’s noted that coal sales are being impacted by availability of low-priced natural gas and imposition of carbon taxes on the customers, which are the driving forces to less demand for coal.
No comments were immediately received from the Westmoreland Mining Holding LLC, UMWA Local 7606 or the City of Estevan. The Mercury will have more on the story as details become available.