AbitibiBowaterMackenzie mill lays off more than 500 forest workers
January 29, 2008 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Vancouver, BC — Bad news has come early for more than 500 forest workers in Mackenzie as AbitibiBowater shut down …
Vancouver, BC — Bad news has come early for more than 500 forest workers in Mackenzie as AbitibiBowater shut down production at its paper mill, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The mill closure followed an earlier-than-expected shutdown of AbitibiBowater’s two sawmills there several days ago.
AbitibiBowater announced November 29 it intended to close its sawmills and paper mill indefinitely, some time during the first quarter of 2008. But orders have all been filled and the mills are now closed, Jean-Philippe Cote, AbitibiBowater director of public affairs, said Monday, as reported in the article.
“Last night, the paper mill shut its machines. It’s idle, following the sawmills that were idled a few days before,” Cote said.
Although workers knew the closures were coming, the suddenness of the decision has left the town of 4,500 people reeling, said Mackenzie mayor Stephanie Killam.
“The next couple of months will be tough for people here, particularly when you are [told of the shutdown] just like ‘boom.’ When you know it’s coming six months down the road, then you can be prepared for it. People here didn’t have that opportunity,” Killam said in an interview.
The two sawmills and associated planer mills employed 325 people. About another 200 are employed at the paper mill. A skeleton crew will keep the paper mill from freezing up in the town’s -15C to -30C weather.
Cote said the human impact of the closures is difficult, but that the company had no choice except to scale back operations if it is to survive.
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