Military contracts are deemed essential by the government to allow the aeronautics company Héroux-Devtek to maintain almost full activity in its québec plants.
“We have shifted our activities to prioritize the ones that are in the defense. It allows us to have the least possible impact on our workforce. I like better to see my employees at work or unemployed, ” says the Journal , the head of Héroux-Devtek, Martin Cuff.
The company has had to lay off 85 of its employees in quebec. But about 700 others are still working in its plants in Longueuil, Montreal and Laval.
The income of Héroux-Devtek are equally distributed between the civil and military sectors.
One of its most important customers is the air force of the United States, but some contracts were for humanitarian missions.
The helicopter manufacturer Bell Textron was also relied on government contracts, including with the canadian coast Guard, to continue the quasi-totality of its activities in Mirabel.
Redevelopment of the mills
Like all companies who have permission to keep their plants open, Héroux and Bell have changed their methods of production to ensure not to spread the coronavirus.
“We respect the distance of two meters, and even more. We rearranged the workstations and we have done a lot of awareness. […] There are even multinational corporations that call us to find out how it works, ” says Mr. Cuff.
“When there are contacts very close, our managers will talk to employees and say, “you move away, you’re too close”. If there are people who do have symptoms, it is a quarantine preventive. Same thing for all those who have been in close contact with the person. We expect the tests, and as soon as we have results, when they are negative, all the world comes back. “
Héroux-Devtek is inspired in the procedures put in place in its two plants located in Spain, one of the countries most affected by the crisis.
These have finally been forced to suspend most of their activities on Monday, at the request of the government.
“It has 18 factories worldwide and there has been no case of contamination on-site “, welcomes Martin Cuff. The only employees of Héroux achieved by the COVID-19 have contracted the virus outside of their work environment.