MOUNT VERNON — The local Rolls-Royce Energy Systems plant announced Thursday it is reducing its work force by approximately 150 individuals, effective March 14. Communications director Gary Hyman said the layoffs will affect mainly shop floor workers.
“We think the long-term prospects for Rolls-Royce Energy business are still very strong,” he said, “but at present there is a need to match internal capacity to the short term demand we envision. As always, we are seeking to be as flexible as possible in the long term interests of our business and employees.”
“We are disappointed, of course,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis. “You are always disappointed when you lose 150 jobs. Clearly, it will have an impact on us. I’ve looked at the first two months of our income tax revenue, and it looks like we were making some recovery from last year. The layoff of 150 people ... that revenue loss will certainly have an impact on what we called our recovery, too. It looked like the community was continuing to do well. Rolls-Royce certainly played a part in that.
“We got through the last two years in pretty difficult times without furloughing staff, without killing projects. We clearly don’t do as many projects and we don’t spend as much money. This year we again had not counted on doing projects we don’t have the revenue for. For 2011, the layoffs will certainly have an impact on us. We’ll have to more carefully watch our spending, both what was planned and what was unplanned in some cases.”
Mavis is hopeful things will turn around.
“Sometimes when you have industrial jobs there is that up and down,” he said. “We are hoping that that’s the case here — this is going to be down for a while, then it will get back up.”
Mavis told the News Rolls-Royce officials led the city to believe employees would be called by to work by October. However, Hyman would not comment on the date.