Giant Cement layoffs

Giant Cement layoffs
Published: 13 January 2009

Giant Cement Company is laying off 45 of its hourly and salaried employees, company officials said Monday.

The "current deep recession in the construction sector and resulting sharp reduction in the demand for cement" was cited as the reason for the layoff.

"To keep our business competitive, we must reduce our payroll costs," Giant Cement Company President Manuel Llop said. "This is a very difficult but necessary step. We will be losing many valuable and dedicated employees, and we greatly appreciate their contributions.

"We will assist in the transition for these employees as much as possible."

Company officials say Giant will provide laid-off employees with severance pay based on years of service. Employees will also be provided with additional benefits during the transition period.

The Harleyville plant employs about 125.

Jon Jewett, general counsel for Giant Cement, said the company supports President-elect Barack Obama’s $775 billion economic stimulus proposal. Obama’s plan includes money for public infrastructure projects.

"We strongly support that," Jewett said. "It is impossible to predict how that would affect us, but the more construction using concrete ... that is the better."

Giant Cement Holding Inc. is a subsidiary of Spain’s Cementos Portland S.A., which acquired the company in 1999. Giant Cement Holding produces and sells Portland and masonry cements, lightweight aggregate and lightweight block through its manufacturing and distribution facilities located throughout the South Atlantic and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States.