Wire Theft in Mexico Triggers at Least 70 Layoffs at Quebec Factory, More Possible

April 3, 2021 Updated: April 3, 2021

MONTREAL—Dozens of workers at a factory in La Pocatiere, Que. have lost their jobs after a theft at a plant in Mexico.

French rail manufacturer Alstom says at least 70 of its employees will be laid off for at least six months and at least 50 more workers could lose their jobs in the months ahead.

Claude Michaud, the president of the union representing workers at the factory, says wire intended to be used in Montreal Metro cars was stolen from a factory in Huehuetoca, Mexico on March 7, forcing the assembly line at the Quebec factory to stop.

Some of the layoffs announced Friday had been scheduled to take place later in the year, according to the union, but took place sooner due to the theft.

Before the layoffs, 420 people worked at the factory north−east of Quebec City, which also manufactures wagons for Ontario regional rail operator Metrolinx.

The Quebec government lent Alstom $56 million last month to modernize the factory. That money won’t have to be paid back if the factory maintains certain employment levels between 2026 and 2028.