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BlackBerry cuts manufacturing, supply chain jobs

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BlackBerry laid off 90 employees in its manufacturing facility in Waterloo, bringing to at least 1,020 the total number of jobs that have been cut locally since late September.

 "These employees were part of BlackBerry's manufacturing, supply chain and sourcing organization," Lisette Kwong, BlackBerry's senior manager of corporate communications, said in an email. The layoffs took effect last week. Some of the work that was done in the smartphone maker's prototyping plant on Phillip Street and a team of employees in that facility that was not affected by this latest cut will be transferred to other buildings in Waterloo, Kwong said. The company did not say to what extent it is still assembling prototypes of smartphones in Waterloo Region. "Canada is BlackBerry's home and we will continue manufacturing and operating in the region, along with other global locations," Kwong said.

Last September, the company announced it would reduce its workforce by 4,500 by the end of May 2014. The cuts will reduce its global workforce to 7,000.

"We recognize our local employees' hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news," Kwong said in her email. "And we will do everything in our power to treat our employees with compassion while offering support during this time of transition."

Earlier this month, the company announced plans to sell off almost all of its real estate holdings in Canada and lease back what it needs. The sale includes 13 buildings in Waterloo and two in Cambridge. The Waterloo buildings on the market include its manufacturing plant at 451 Phillip St. In December, BlackBerry announced the sale of five buildings at Columbia and University streets to the University of Waterloo. The real estate moves are the latest in a series of far-reaching changes implemented by chief executive officer John Chen since he took the reins at BlackBerry in early November. He replaced the senior management team, wrote down billions in unsold smartphones and announced a five-year agreement with Foxconn that will see the Taiwan-based manufacturer design and produce BlackBerry products for emerging markets. BlackBerry's shares fell 18 cents, or 1.62 per cent, closing at $10.94 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 09:15

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