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The bottom just fell out: Palliser Furniture temporarily lays off workers, closes Winnipeg facility | FURNTR
The bottom just fell out: Palliser Furniture temporarily lays off workers, closes Winnipeg facility

Company employs 3,000 people globally, including roughly 500 in Winnipeg

Palliser Furniture is temporarily laying off 72 per cent of its workforce as it closes its Winnipeg facility for two weeks and looks to do the same at its Mexican facilities in the coming weeks.

The company employs 3,000 people around the world. Approximately 500 factory workers and office staff in Winnipeg will be let laid off as the company shuts down in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.

"I would say it was one of the toughest, the toughest. [It's been] weeks actually, because we had to plan for it," said company president Peter Tielmann.

The layoffs come as the COVID-19 pandemic brings retail business to a standstill and demand for Palliser products and services plunges.

"The bottom just fell out," Tielmann said. "Revenue went from a hundred to zero in just two weeks.

"Most retailers have closed down. Some remained open,  but really there is very little activity. Even the ones that remained open don't have any traffic going to sales these days, which is fully understandable," he added.

The company manufactures upholstered leather furniture in North America. It has operations in Canada, Mexico, Indonesia and China.

In addition to its own products, Palliser is a supplier to a variety of furniture companies.

Palliser said it's exploring workshare along with additional assistance programs for employees affected by the layoffs.

Tielmann said the federal programs not only have to support businesses trying to get back on their feet and workers back in their jobs, but also provide confidence to everyone to start purchasing products once again.

"We also we believe it will give workers — and workers who work elsewhere — the confidence to also remain consumers because we need consumers to remain consumers [in order to] come out of this." Tielmann said.

Tielmann says the federal Liberal government has made some good moves to support the economy but needs to move quickly to put the programs it has announced into action.

 "I think speed is up speed is of the essence. We need to act really fast because this crisis like unlike any other before," Tielmann said.

The Canadian Press, Mar 30,

 

News Writer : Erbay ŞAHİN

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