Tuesday, January 24, 2012

STORM CLOUDS OVER THE HUMBER

Corner Brook's mayor says that newspaper reports that 90 jobs may be cut at the provinces last Pulp & Paper Mill are not true.

CBC is reporting that he has spoken  with the senior management and has been told that " union and management will meet to "discuss the situation at the mill. The union that represents workers at the mill, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 242,  has not been told anything about today’s meeting. The Western Star is reporting that the unions have not yet been officially notified of the job cuts, but that notification will occur today.

This past weekend, Justice Minister Tom Marshall, and  Humber East M.H.A , confirmed the provincial government has been told the company is expecting to cut jobs through attrition at the Corner Brook mill.  The Star reported on the weekend that 90 jobs would be lost. The source said the cuts would affect both management and union employees in the mill and in the woodlands operation. 

Workers in the mill provided a loan to the company in the form of a  a 10 per wage deferral. Workers will get the money back when the mill returns to profitability.  130 jobs were cut in June 2009 . Two paper making machines have been shut down since 2007. There are still two in operation.

In the 2010 provincial budget, the province announced that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper will receive  $15.4 million in assistance. That help came in the form of increasing the province's share of the annual silviculture program, as well as foregoing the company's annual financial contribution to the forest inventory program, forest insect control program and managed land tax. In exchange for this assistance, government has reached an agreement with the company for certain licensed timber rights to revert to the Crown.

In May, 2011 the provincial government announced  that it would invest $4.3 million, over three years, into Corner Brook Pulp and Paper that will see employees receive enhanced training to improve the mill’s

The mill employs roughly 500 people. Quebec based Kruger Inc.purchased the mill from Bowaters in 1984. The mill began operations in 1925 as the Newfoundland and Labrador Power and Paper Company.

Much of the companies energy needs are self-supplied through hydro-electric plants in Deer Lake (129MW) and Watson's Brook in Corner Brook. An additional 7-10 MW is provided via a co-generation turbine that burns 713 tonnes a day of biomass .

If a mill with Corner Brook's competitive advantage and all of the government subsidies can not make a go of it,  than the Pulp and Paper Industry is all but finished.

1 comment:

Cyril Rogers said...

Peter, and it uses enough power to run the new Vale project at Long Harbour.

Will it close? I don't know but it's future sure seems precarious. The paper industry is not doing well right now and, with all of the changes in the world economy, we may never see this industry rebound. If no rebound occurs soon, it will be closed within the next five years.