More than 100 workers in South Boston are out of a job after a round of layoffs at the ABB plant on Wednesday.
Out of the total 467 employees at the plant, 113 were affected by the layoff, according to an ABB spokesperson.
ABB makes small power electrical transformers at its facility at 2135 Philpott Road (U.S. Highway 58). The plant has been in operation since 1968.
“Due to a global slowdown in transformer demand, the ABB Power Grids business is reducing the number of employees at its South Boston, Virginia location,” said Christopher Shigas, external communications director, U.S. for ABB.
“Eligible employees will have access to severance benefits, job placement assistance, and may be able to relocate to other ABB locations,” Shigas continued. “This business decision is in no way related to the performance of the local team and we are committed to supporting the employees throughout this process. The South Boston facility continues to be important to the ABB Power Grids business.”
Brian Brown, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County, called ABB a “key business partner” in the community.
“We will work closely with our industries to help alleviate the loss and to fill those voids,” Brown said, noting that the layoff at ABB would give other industries in the county an opportunity to hire a “skilled workforce.”
He added that helping the recently laid off workers find gainful employment is the No. 1 priority.
Landon Mason, director of Virginia Career Works-South Boston Center, said the center is offering assistance to the recently laid off workers at ABB.
“We have partners here who help with employment services, unemployment assistance, training and educational services, as well as supportive services,” Mason said.
The ABB layoff comes on the heels of help wanted announcements at the plant as recently as last month.
On Dec. 8, the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce posted on their website a job announcement for a test technician at ABB.
According to the announcement, ABB was seeking “Test Technicians to join our Power Grids division and perform general labor to manufacture world-class liquid-filled transformers for the distribution & power transformer markets within our South Boston, VA facility.”
According to the ABB website, workers at the South Boston plant “design and manufacture power and distribution transformers for utility transmission and distribution grids, industrial facilities, and commercial buildings,” and the facility specializes in “complex units that require one-of-a-kind engineering and customer-focused solutions.”
ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. The company announced in 2018 the acquisition of its Power Grids business by the Japanese tech conglomerate Hitachi, Ltd., effective this year. It is unclear at this time how the acquisition will impact the South Boston plant.