Big technology employer trims workforce

A change in focus at Schneider Electric’s head office has resulted in some job losses at one of Greater Victoria’s largest high-tech employers.

The France-based company said the local job losses were the result of “a global reorganization” and that the six positions affected at this point were across various departments and levels of seniority.

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Schneider Electric’s Saanichton operations, founded as Power Measurement, specializes in designing and manufacturing devices that measure energy usage.

Jennifer Jacques, who had been director of operations here, has also left the Saanichton plant. She accepted a position with the company as eco-buildings industrialization director for North America last summer and started the new job three months ago in Nashville, Tennessee.

In a statement, the company said the recent layoff decisions were difficult and not taken lightly. “The Victoria facility still employs about 300 people and the site will continue to play a major role in Schneider Electric’s future,” the firm said.

The company said the reorganization had nothing to do with the transfer of Schneider’s printed circuit-board assembly operations from Victoria to an existing Schneider facility in Reynosa, Mexico. That move, which resulted in 36 local employees losing their jobs, occurred in January last year.

“We were faced with a difficult decision and this outcome in no way reflects on the capabilities of our employees in Victoria. As a global company, we are constantly looking at how we can bring our products to market in the most cost-effective way,” the company said at the time.

Schneider bought Power Measurement in 2005 and had spent the next 10 years expanding. Between 2005 and 2016, staffing grew to 350 from 270.

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