While the union is concerned about receiving only “crumbs” from the Quebec tramway, the company that won the contract guarantees on the contrary that the La Pocatere factory will carry out the bulk of the work estimated at 1.34 billion.
Alstom spokesman Olivier Marcel said about the exit of the CSN-affiliated union, which lamented that the construction of trams evaded scrutiny. La Bocatere Factory for Mexico “It’s a bad read.”
Quebec tram cars will not be built in Mexico, a spokesperson for the multinational confirmed during an interview with Journalism. “The cars will be built from parts from different suppliers, including those from Quebec, on a new assembly line in La Boucaatere,” he explained.
Marcel said Bombardier’s former plant in La Bocatière, which Alstom bought in 2021, will be the company’s plant that will hold the largest share of the Quebec tram contract.
Alstom was the sole bidder following the call for bids launched by Quebec City. The contract, which was signed between the two parties, provides for the construction and maintenance of 34 cars for 30 years, at a cost of 1.34 billion.
The 100% electric trams are from Alstom’s Citadis series, which are already operating in many French cities, as well as in Ottawa, Rotterdam and Rio de Janeiro. The Quebec tramway will span 29 kilometers and be ready in 2029.
The cars were designed and engineered by Alstom engineers in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, and will be assembled at the La Pocatière plant, which was “at the heart of our bid for Quebec City,” according to the company.
Unlike the Réseau Express métropolitain (REM) contract awarded to Caisse de Depot without the need for local content (the cars were built in India), the Quebec tramway came with strings attached.
“There were two important commitments in the call for bids, a minimum of 25% local content and the achievement of final assembly in Quebec,” Olivier Marcel specified, adding that the La Bocatière plant would be the “lion’s share” of the tram contract.
The quota of 25% for domestic content should be exceeded, according to the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, who thinks factory union members are wrongly concerned.
“The factory has never been so well,” he said in response to questions from Party Quebec leader Paul St. Pierre Plamondon.
“When Alstom bought Bombardier, there were 100 people [à l’usine] They have no more contracts. Today, there are 400 people and they are having trouble recruiting,” said the minister, who questioned him Journalism.
“They congregate,” says Fitzgibbon.
“You have to understand what La Pocatière is. La Pocatière doesn’t build trains from the ground up, and they’ve never built a train in their life. They get together.”
Under the contract from Quebec City, the factory inherits “the bulk of the business,” he says.
On the unionist side, on the contrary, it is emphasized that the La Pocatière factory has already built trains and is still building them, since it is currently making Toronto tram cars. Limiting himself to gathering processes would cause him to lose his experience.
“We’re not turning our nose up at that, but we would have loved to have more,” said Louis Begin, president of the CSN Manufacturing Association.
Mr. Begin recalls that Mr. Fitzgibbon’s government granted a “revocable loan” of 56m to Alstom to modernize the La Pocatière plant with the aim of making it a center of expertise in public transport.
It seems that the share of 25% of local content is insufficient to achieve this goal, according to the federation, and it must be increased.
For the minister, that’s another discussion. He said, “We have to pick our battles.” “Do we want to integrate all the streetcars in Quebec? He wondered. Maybe if we have four or five REM units coming in, we’ll convince Alstom to set up a real factory making parts. We’re not there yet, but we’re courting them.”
In collaboration with Tommy Chouinard, Journalismin Quebec
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