> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Blue Bird Corp., manufacturer of the Wanderlodge highline motorcoach, laid off about 40 people at the end of April mostly at its commercial and motorcoach division in Fort Valley, Ga., said Rick Hudson, the company’s human resources director, according to the Macon (Ga.) Daily Telepgraph.
“We are trying to control our costs and improve our financial performance,” Hudson said.
Blue Bird’s parent, Henlys Group PLC of the United Kingdom, lost 23.1 million British pounds, or $41.2 million in U.S. currency, during the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30.
Both salaried and nonmanufacturing hourly workers were included in the layoff, he noted.
“Slower sales in the RV, commercial and coach markets, along with lower margins on school bus sales, have contributed to this latest manpower adjustment,” according to a company news release.
The company is offering the laid-off workers any assistance they need, Hudson said.
Meanwhile, Blue Bird has hired about 300 people since December at the Fort Valley plant, mostly for its school bus assembly line, which is being transferred from the company’s north Georgia plant, Hudson said. Some workers were rehired from the 450 Fort Valley employees laid off in October.
“We may add as many as 20 to 30 more over the next couple of months as production rates change,” Hudson said.
Blue Bird, which is owned by Great Henlys Group of Great Britain, now has about 1,350 workers in Fort Valley, Hudson said.
“Nobody has a crystal ball, but we’re optimistic about the plans we’ve put in place,” he said. “Our quality is improving and production rates are coming up, so we’re very optimistic about the future.”