Komatsu Mining Systems plans to lay off 22 workers at its Peoria, Ill., plant, company officials announced. However, despite its continuing layoff status, the Peoria plant will play a key role in Komatsu’s overall restructuring of its North American mining, construction and utility manufacturing operations, company spokesperson Gary Aubry said. Aubry said 18 of the 22 workers to be laid off eventually will be called back. The layoffs are necessary because of an ongoing decline in demand worldwide for equipment in the construction, mining and utility markets, Aubry said. “The mining industry has really slowed down,” he added.
Komatsu is in the process of a three-year restructuring of its North American mining, construction and utility manufacturing operations. As part of the restructuring, the company’s policy is to focus on key “mother” plants responsible for each product line and to make full use of Komatsu’s new global purchasing initiatives, he said.
Under the new alignment, each Komatsu manufacturing operation will focus on maximizing assembly efficiencies and quality. Assembly operations will be adjusted to mirror those of “mother” plants and focus on single-product-line production strategy. The Peoria plant will become one of those “mother” plants. “The mother plant controls how things are put together,” Aubry said.
But members of the union representing hourly workers are unhappy about their shrinking numbers and what they see as unfair labor practices. Boilermakers Local 158 already has six pending grievances centered around the loss of jobs or allegations Komatsu has outside businesses performing union jobs, Local 158 president Kevin Kocher said.