Volvo plans to lay off 300 in Pulaski County
Nov 03, 2012 (Menafn - The Roanoke Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Volvo Trucks North America in Pulaski County announced that it will lay off about 300 workers at the beginning of next year.
Brandon Borgna, a Volvo Trucks spokesman based in North Carolina, said the layoffs are a result of a decline in industry orders.
"Continued economic concerns, sluggish job growth, the upcoming election and federal budget discussions have impacted orders as customers delay purchasing decisions," Borgna wrote in an emailed statement.
The layoffs will start in January, he said.
Jim Houchins, president of the plant's United Auto Workers Local 2069, said employees were informed during the second shift Thursday and the day shift Friday that up to 300 production workers will be laid off.
"It's very disheartening," Houchins said. "Some of these people have only been working two weeks."
The Swedish-owned company said in a news release earlier this year that it sold 23,820 heavy duty trucks in 2011, compared with 12,100 in 2010 in North American markets -- making 2011 more successful than recent years.
Its North American market share surged to 12.1 percent of heavy-duty truck purchases in the United States and Canada in 2011, the highest ever for Volvo, according to the release.
Borgna told The Roanoke Times in September that the company expected the industry to grow by 15 percent in 2012 over 2011.
The 1.6 million-square-foot Pulaski County manufacturing facility is Volvo Truck North America's sole vehicle assembly plant, with 2,400 employees.
Houchins said there was no discussion about future employment options for those who will be laid off.
"This is just the initial statements," Houchins said. "When they get down to the exact numbers, they'll take them in, talk to them and tell them what they can do for them."
Pulaski County Administrator Pete Huber said the county will work with the plant "to provide the affected employees with the most help that can be provided."
"It's a very difficult time for the individuals affected," Huber said. "Early in my career I was in that position, and it is something I have not forgotten."
Borgna said the company regrets having to lay off employees.
"We remain focused on keeping the company competitive and ensuring that Volvo is a strong employer for the long term," he said.
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