Sunday, January 24, 2010

About 45 people who work at Sunbury Transport's head office in Fredericton have been told the office is being merged with RST Industries in Saint John.

"We're going to combine them and operate them out of McAllister Drive, which is where RST is located in Saint John," said J.D. Irving Ltd. spokeswoman Mary Keith.

She said the decision to close Sunbury's Alison Boulevard offices and consolidate with RST was a business decision.

Sunbury's main customers are in the industrial area of Saint John and at the port.

"It makes more sense to have them redeployed closer to the customer base," Keith said.

Company officials met with the Fredericton-based employees Tuesday to inform them of the decision.

The transition is going to occur over a six-month period, Keith said.

She said the company will work with employees to find out who would like to relocate to Saint John.

"For those who choose to remain, we will also be working with those folks to find other assignments based on their qualifications at other JDI locations or other possible placements they may wish to pursue."

Asked whether jobs will be lost through the consolidation, Keith said: "The first step obviously is to see who would move to Saint John."

The employees work in the company's operations, fleet management and dispatch areas.

"People are obviously taking the opportunity to think about what this means for themselves and their families,'' she said. "We wanted to provide people with enough advance notice of the intended change.

"We will be working with the employees as this transition continues through the next six months."

Mayor Brad Woodside said he got a call from Keith on Thursday afternoon, informing him of the decision.

"I was very disappointed," he said. "They told me this was a business decision, these were difficult times.

"I expressed my disappointment, (and I) feel badly for people affected."

Keith said the company will be looking for a new tenant for the Alison Boulevard building in Fredericton come summer.

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