BlackBerry to cut 300 more Waterloo jobs this week
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:45AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2013 6:30PM EDT
BlackBerry will cut another 300 positions from its Waterloo-based workforce this week.
The company says the latest cuts are another step in its “period of transition” that will see the company shed 40 per cent of its workforce.
Another 300 local jobs were cut earlier this month, with the company’s enterprise and design departments reportedly affected.
“We must focus on enhancing our financial results to be in a better position to compete in this current mobile environment,” BlackBerry said in a statement.
“We recognize our local employees’ hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news. We will do everything in our power to treat our employees with compassion, while offering support during this time of transition.”
A two-hour workshop was held in Waterloo on Tuesday for laid-off employees, with about 30 people in attendance.
One of them was Mike Holownych, who was laid off from BlackBerry in August 2012.
He tried to move into financial services, but quickly realized that the tech world was where he belonged – and 14 months later, where he’s still looking for a job.
“There’s a lot of people out there looking for jobs right now. Companies are able to pick and choose who they want to hire,” he tells CTV News.
“The longer I’m out of a job, the harder it is to sell the idea of me coming to work for another organization. It can be frustrating. It can take a toll.”
Charity Bell, who also attended the workshop, was let go from BlackBerry in April – with her husband losing his job at the company in the latest round of cuts.
She too says finding a new job has been a more difficult experience than she expected.
“I’ve been applying for jobs I feel I’m fully qualified for – not getting interviews, not getting any bites,” she says.
Holownych says most of the interest he’s received isn’t from local tech firms, but from recruiters based in the Toronto area.
Communitech talent programs manager Alayne Hynes says the workshop had a focus on networking and on sorting through the open positions at other Waterloo Region tech firms.
“On any given day there’s about 1,000 open positions,” she says.
“We’re working with the people that have been laid off to help them find those positions that are right for them.”
The layoffs come at a time when the future of BlackBerry remains in question.
A consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings and former BlackBerry director Prem Watsa has offered to purchase the company.
No other formal offers have been made public, but company co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin have filed documents suggesting interest in a joint bid for the smartphone maker, while Chinese tech company Lenovo has reportedly also shown interest in a takeover.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that BlackBerry executives have also met with Facebook to gauge that company’s interest in a potential bid.
BlackBerry responded to a request for comment from CTV News by saying that the company is conducting a "robust and thorough" review of its alternatives, but would not comment on specific developments.
Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry is shown in this May 2013 file photo. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
A BlackBerry building is seen in Waterloo, Ont., on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (Nicole Lampa / CTV Kitchener)
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