Friday, May 18, 2012


It is an all too familiar pattern. 

Companies look for deeper concession for the privilege of being employed to make paper from our wood at a time of great chaos in the pulp and paper industry. The unions narrowly reject and than the company announces a review of operations.

If the script stays true to past history, the mill will close,  as they ahve in  Stephenville and Grand Falls!

Unionized employees at Corner Brook and Pulp And Paper have rejected Kruger's demands for further pension restructuring.  

 54.3 per cent, voted against the companies latest concession request.The company has received millions in provincial grants, has rolled back salaries, closed two paper making machines, cut dozens of jobs and received loans from the employee pension plan . All in attempt to lower costs.

Kruger wanted 10 years, instead of five, to restructure liabilities in its pension plans. The union was concerned about a lack of transparency on the part of the company.

CBC is reporting that the company is "disappointing with he outcome"

Unionized workers voted against a plan that would have allowed Kruger 10 years, instead of five, to restructure liabilities in its pension plans.

Kruger said 326 of the active unionized workforce, or 54.3 per cent, voted against the pension plan.

 I expect the answers from Keith Hutchings, the minister responsible for rural development and business to follow the same script as well

 "Mr. Speaker, we are frustrated with the company and the employees. The situation is dictated by world economic conditions. We will continue to monitor the situation. A cabinet committee has been established to find ways to alleviate the blow in the event of a closure of the mill. We are going to be there to support them in the transition.  We will unveil a number of programs in the coming days and weeks involving employment supports, opportunities for retraining if people want to do that, and we'll look at obviously some economic development opportunities in the region."

Construction of the mill began in 1923 with the first paper produced in 1925.  It was then incorporated in 1927 as the International Paper Company of Newfoundland Limited and was acquired by Bowater Corporation in 1938.  The company became part of the Kruger organization in December of 1984, at which time it adopted its present name.
CBPP Woodlands employs 275 employees in their harvest and silvculture operations in almost 50 Newfoundland communities. The Company employs another 400 people at the mill in Corner Brook and the Deer Lake Power Company.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper  manages approximately 1.5 million hectares (3.6 million acres) of forest land on the Island of Newfoundland   These timber limits span from the Codroy Valley on the southwest corner of the island, to Cat Arm on the Northern  Peninsula, and east to Gander in central Newfoundland.

The announcement of a review should make for interesting fodder in the House of Assembly. Tow of the provinces three Pulp and Paper Mills have closed under the watch of the current Progressive Conservative Administration.

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