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Penticton  

Mass layoffs at Britco

Penticton's Britco plant is facing a significant slowdown, with the vast majority of its staff laid off earlier this month.

Those layoffs, according to Britco communications manager Meghan Cairns, came "with the objective of building an order backlog." It's not clear how many workers have been hit with layoffs, but Cairns says just a few managers and employees have been kept aboard.

"We have kept a few employees on hand to make some changes to the production line configuration of the plant in anticipation of future work," Cairns said in an email statement. "We hope to be able to call back our Penticton employees in the future based on market need and we are still committed to being a part of the Penticton community."

Previously Britco focused on commercial projects, but Cairns says when the facilities bounce back, they're looking to add building single-family homes to the production line, as well.

"The addition of single-family homes definitely adds opportunities in a positive direction for Britco," Cairns said when asked whether the addition could increase employment.

But if Britco knows when it intends to gear up production or how many it intends to bring back for employment, the company is keeping tight-lipped about it.

Britco’s manufacturing plants were sold to Triple M Modular on April 7. Previous owner, WesternOne Inc., also sold off the rental portion of the business to the Black Diamond Group in March.

This month's layoffs aren't the first to hit the plant. In 2015, slow movement in the oil sector led to 60 positions being laid off at the Britco plant, which accounted for 39 per cent of its staff at the time.

Its not clear whether any of those jobs have been since recovered.

In 2013, Premier Christy Clark visited Penticton, touring the Britco plant with then-prospective MLA Dan Ashton ahead of the election, touting economic growth.

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