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New Flyer Industries Inc. said Monday it is cutting up to 320 jobs or about 13 per cent of its work force after a major customer deferred an order of buses.

The heavy-duty transit bus maker said it would cut up to 270 jobs from its unionized work force at plants in Winnipeg and Minnesota, plus up to 50 jobs from its salaried staff, mostly in Winnipeg.

New Flyer announced last month that the production of 140 diesel-electric hybrid articulated buses for a major U.S. customer was deferred indefinitely because of problems with funding.

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Some of the job cuts will take place immediately, with the balance taking place over the rest of the year, the company said in a statement.

"Management has explored a variety of actions to mitigate the effects of this order deferral," New Flyer said.

"The company has not been advised by other customers of any other material funding issues nor has it received any other material firm order deferrals from any of its other customers."

In addition to the cuts, New Flyer said it will shut down its plants in Winnipeg and Crookston and St. Cloud, Minn., for the last two weeks of the year.

The announcement of the cuts came as the company reported a loss of $14.7-million or 31 cents per unit for the quarter ended July 5 compared with a loss of $10.7-million or 29 cents per unit a year ago.

Revenue in the quarter totalled $273.5-million, up from $260.4-million in the second quarter last year.

New Flyer's total order backlog including firm orders and options totalled $4-billion or about 9,425 equivalent units at July 5, up slightly from $4-billion or 9,236 equivalent units at the end of the previous quarter.

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The firm order backlog totalled 2,388 equivalent units of production.

The expected revenue from the deferred order was approximately $122-million, about 3 per cent of the total order backlog.

New Flyer said the buyer has said the new buses are required under a bus replacement plan and that it intends to purchase the buses once funding is made available.

New Flyer employs about 2,500 workers in Canada and the United States.



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