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Energy and Resources Layoff notices going out at TransCanada as customers feel pinch from low oil

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska, in this file photo taken March 10, 2014.

LANE HICKENBOTTOM/Reuters

It's been a tough week for workers at Canada's two biggest pipeline companies, with TransCanada Corp. the latest to hand out layoff notices.

A TransCanada spokesman confirmed the cuts but declined to say how many jobs are being lost or what parts of the business are bearing the brunt.

Mark Cooper says the company aims to be fair and respectful and won't be making those details public until those affected have heard the news first from their leaders.

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He says the cuts aren't related to any specific project or decision, but are rather meant to ensure the company stays competitive amid tough market conditions.

U.S. President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada's cross-border Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month and the company is now weighing its options.

Earlier this week, fellow pipeline firm Enbridge Inc. announced it would be shedding 500 jobs and leaving 100 more vacant positions unfilled.

The Enbridge cuts represent about 5 per cent of its work force in the United States and Canada.

According to its most recent annual report, TransCanada had 6,059 employees across North America.

TransCanada eliminated 185 positions from its major projects division in June. In September, it trimmed about a fifth of its senior leadership positions at the vice-president level and above. A month later, it cut 30 positions one rung below at the director level.

"These changes align with changes that we're making to our structure to remain competitive and deliver shareholder value, as well as in response to falling oil prices and its effect on our customers," Cooper said.

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"These two factors mean that we need to drive down costs and pursue our projects more efficiently and strategically. This includes having to make some difficult decisions that affect our work force."

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