Irving lays off workers, shuts down Halifax Shipyard for three weeks

Irving Shipbuilding is suspending work at the Halifax Shipyard and its Marine Fabricators and Woodside Industries locations for three weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company issued layoff notices Thursday afternoon, noting that the shutdown will be assessed on a weekly basis. It says the decision impacts 1,100 of the 1,800 workers at those sites.

“This decision became necessary given the high density of the employee population in certain work areas, high absenteeism, and reduced critical vendor support in materials and services,” the layoff notice says. “This decision was made in consultation with our Government of Canada customers.”

The shipyard has federal contracts for six Arctic and offshore patrol vessels, and for 15 Canadian Surface Combatant ships.

Unionized workers are being paid for this week and the week of March 23, but beyond that they are being told they can use vacation or banked overtime to make up for lost wages.

The layoff notice also points people to the federal emergency aid, announced yesterday.

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