Pulp and Paper Canada

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Catalyst directs $25M away from mill


November 28, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Catalyst Paper is refusing to invest in its Port Alberni mill because of an inability to strike a deal with unions,…

Catalyst Paper is refusing to invest in its Port Alberni mill because of an inability to strike a deal with unions, Canadian Press has reported.

A total of $25 million, money that was intended to upgrade one of the facility’s papermachines, will instead be spent on trying to reduce that machine’s production costs.

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Catalyst, in an effort to address industrial tax rates, stipulated that unless the city responded to its concerns with this regard, and that local unions made concessions, that it would close its PM4, throwing 300 employees out of work. However, were the issues to be resolved, the company confirmed it would pour capital into the machine in order to upgrade it.

Now, Vern Phillips, director of human resources for the company in Port Alberni said the lack of an agreement with unions has forced the company to explore other avenues.

“We needed to have an agreement by the 17th of November,” CP reported him as saying. “We weren’t able to get [an] agreement with local unions. We’ve moved on from a business point of view.”

CP further confirmed the company as saying it will concentrate on improving the efficiency of its papermachine by reducing downtime, power consumption and wear-and-tear.

Phillips responded to inquiries pertaining to potential layoffs with, “I can’t comment on that.”


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