Four south Louisiana businesses announce layoff plans affecting up to 580 workers _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The Noranda alumina plant in Gramercy warned that there could be a temporary closure at the facility because of a bauxite tax levy dispute with the Jamaican government.

Four south Louisiana businesses sent new or updated layoff notices to the Louisiana Workforce Commission in the past week, a move that could affect more than 580 employees.

Companies involved are the Noranda alumina plant in Gramercy; a Noble Drilling Inc. facility in Galliano; Trinity Marine Products in Madisonville; and Garden City Group in Hammond.

As part of a layoff notice from earlier this month, National Oilwell Varco, a manufacturer and parts supplier to the oil and gas industry, began Monday shutting down its Houma facility and laying off 80 employees. Houston-based NOV cited “economic reasons” as it phases in its shutdown through sometime between March 7 and March 21.

The Noranda alumina plant in Gramercy warned that there could be a temporary closure at the facility because of a bauxite tax levy dispute with the Jamaican government and “a dramatic decrease in volume of orders.” A temporary closure would result in as many as 444 layoffs. Noranda said the plant will temporarily close in the next two months unless it is able to negotiate tax relief with the Jamaican government, reduce costs at Gramercy and sees its commercial and liquidity circumstances improve.

Noble Drilling Inc. said it will lay off between 100 and 120 employees at its Galliano facility because of the anticipated shutdown of the Noble Danny Adkins offshore rig. The layoffs are expected to begin March 14.

Trinity Marine Products said some workers will remain at its Madisonville barge plant. The company announced in October it would lay off 336 workers by the end of the year. However, due to additional business needs, the plant is expected to remain open until March 31. Trinity has already laid off or reassigned 324 workers.

Garden City Group updated information about the closure of its Louisiana Claims Center in Hammond. Another eight workers will be affected by layoffs by the legal claims administrator. In the company’s earlier filings from September, it said 73 workers would be affected.