PCS Phosphate Company Inc. announced that it is reducing its workforce.
The Beaufort County company, also known as PotashCorp Aurora, has laid off roughly 85 people. This came three weeks before Christmas Eve.
The changes stem from a company-wide review of business and operational needs, according to a news release. Restructuring the workforce will allow the facility to operate more efficiently.
The layoffs went into effect Tuesday.
People in Aurora are fully aware of the impact the corporation has on their local economy. "We as small businesses depend on these guys coming in from PCS," said local worker Sherry Popperwill. "Right before the holiday season I think it's gonna effect the employees more than it is us. 'Cause right now, this time of year, it does slow down. We expect that, but not on top of everything else with the layoffs."
For Popperwill and many others, the workers who were laid off were good friends; people they saw every day. "I feel sorry for 'em. I mean, 'cause this is people that have been there for years," she said.
People in town, including current PotashCorp employees, told Newschannel 12 the cuts were not limited to people on the bottom of the PotashCorp totem pole. They say many of the people who were let go held management and office positions.
PotashCorp Aurora General Manager Steve Beckel said the cuts were made to "help position PotashCorp Aurora to be globally competitive for the long term."
“We are focused on ensuring this process is respectful of our employees and their families,” said Beckel. “We will work to help those affected through this challenging time. Our Aurora operation remains important to PotashCorp’s long-term plans and we remain committed to this community as well as to the state of North Carolina.”
PotashCorp Aurora is expected to maintain approximately 810 jobs at the facility.