Crisis in Alberta

SMS Equipment in Fort McMurray lays off workers as global oil price slump continues

FORT MCMURRAY – Dozens of members of Unifor Local 707A working at SMS Equipment have been laid off as the global oil price slump continues to impact the Wood Buffalo economy.

“Canada’s oil and gas companies and their workers are suffering. It is causing real hardship in communities across Alberta and across the country,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Alberta’s energy industry needs investment now so it can be a key part of the economic recovery.”

SMS Equipment is an international manufacturer of heavy equipment used in construction, forestry, and mining. It laid off 28 workers this week, bringing the total to 99 workers laid off over the past six months. SMS layoffs exacerbate the wider damage done to the regional economy by layoffs across the oil and gas sector and associated industries. While the federal government cannot control the global price of oil, Unifor is urging it to make strategic investments to help the industry weather the price slump while maintaining employment levels.

The federal government recently helped support the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore oil industry with a $320 million investment.

“We are fighting for good jobs in the energy industry. The OPEC price war and the COVID-19 economic slump have been difficult, but our industry is too important to abandon,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “The Canadian energy sector has been a source of good jobs for decades and it deserves our support.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

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