Two buyers - Andritz Va Tech Hydro, an Austrian company, and Metso, a Finnish company – closed a deal with GE Hydro making them the new owners of the Lachine facilities deserted in 2008. This move managed to save the jobs in peril.
Metso settles in former Lachine GE plant
“It’s excellent news – perfect timing – especially in these difficult economic times”, Metso spokesperson Dorothy Barr told Le Messager.
Note that towards the end of 2007, GE Hydro, a subsidiary of American multinational General Electric advised its 450 employees in Lachine (of which 250 are unionised) that the company would cease operations in June 2008. Employees affected - mostly welders, machinists and warehouse operators with more than 20 years of seniority - were at risk of losing their jobs.
A special committee was created in the days following the announcement. People were put to task including Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin and his colleagues as well as officials from different government levels like MNAs Marlene Jennings and François Ouimet. They all went to work to look for an alternative solution so that the employees could remain in their jobs. «The Metso Minerals plant specialises in the manufacture of grinding mills and crushing machines for the mining industry. Close to 150 people work in the company at this time», said to Le Messager the general manager Denis Rioux.
Austrian company Andritz Va Tech Hydro acquired the laboratory and will continue its research and development activities in the same premises that General Electric used to occupy for numerous years. General Electric later became GE Hydro, specialising in turbine construction.
“The acquisition of GE Hydro’s facilities in Lachine and the preservation of most of the jobs by Finnish company Metso is certainly excellent news for Lachine Borough and for the City of Montreal. The company, a solid multinational, is here to stay and to prosper. This is an emotionally satisfying agreement considering that when I participated in the effort to save the GE installations, my principal motivation was to let the workers keep their jobs. This is therefore the start of a new economic expansion for these installations; the Borough and its partners will continue to support Metso and Andritz in their activities”, Borough Mayor Claude Dauphin stated.
An official ceremony aimed to highlight the initiation of Metso’s operations in Lachine took place a little before Christmas in 795 George V Avenue in Lachine, the company’s headquarters. This event was held with numerous executives of Metso and its subsidiary, Metso Minerals. They came all the way from Finland and from the United States especially for the occasion. Officials and other representatives of Lachine were also present.