McAlpine Ltd, one of the most storied construction companies in the Cayman Islands, will likely see its workforce trimmed to about one-sixth of its peak by early next year because of a lack of construction work.
Ian Pairaudeau, the managing director of McAlpine’s Cayman operations, said the company has already made significant numbers of layoffs and that they would continue into the new year.
“We have decreased our work force by 90 over the last few months and we expect further reductions between now and Christmas,” he said.
The company is putting the finishing touches on a major project, the Willow House building at Cricket Square.
However, Mr. Pairaudeau said McAlpine, which was established in Cayman in 1971, was not closing its operations here, only downsizing its workforce until it gets more work. He said the Cayman office was its regional Caribbean head office.
“McAlpine has significant real estate investments in Cayman and there are no plans for the company to relocate or close down its Caribbean operations,” he said. “We will continue to pursue work locally. We have traditionally been able to compete with all local and overseas companies for work in Cayman.”
Mr. Pairaudeau said that in the time McAlpine has been in Cayman, it had gone through many slow periods.
“But that’s expected in construction, as our industry is cyclical.”
In the meantime, McAlpine is constructing a large hospital in Bermuda and is about to bid on an airport and runway expansion project worth more than $100 million in the British Virgin Islands.
At its peak, McAlpine had 180 employees in Cayman, with 60 on work permits, Mr. Pairaudeau said, noting that the company was down to about 85 employees. Because he was travelling to the British Virgin Islands at the time he was contacted, Mr. Pairaudeau said he couldn’t give an exact breakdown of the Caymanians and expatriates still employed with the company.
He said the size of the remaining workforce after the layoffs would depend on the work the company had, but that he anticipated the number of remaining employees to between 20 and 30.