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Effect of BC forestry strike grows


August 28, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Vancouver and Port Alberni, BC The BC forestry strike is now in its sixth week, with growing effects in the indus…

Vancouver and Port Alberni, BC The BC forestry strike is now in its sixth week, with growing effects in the industry. Catalyst Paper announced that it will curtail most of its production at the Campbell River Elk Falls mill effective August 31 due to fibre supply limitations caused by the United Steelworkers strike. This temporary closure will impact approximately 600 employees, and will remove about 1,100 tonnes of paper production and 900 tonnes of pulp products per day.

Catalyst will continue to run its #2 paper machine at Elk Falls mill in order to protect service to key customers for as long as possible, although this production may be curtailed sometime next month. The remainder of the companys manufacturing facilities maintain full operation, although this situation may change if the labour disruption moves into September.

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In other parts of the province, the Alberni Valley Times reported that if the strike runs long enough, it will also affect the hog and fiber supplies at the Catalyst paper mill in Port Alberni. They interviewed Pete Rayburn, president of Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) local 592, who noted that for now, the mill is handling the strike by burning hog fuel a few days per week, then switching to gas to allow hog supplies to build up.

Andy Smith, special advisor International Forest Products Corp. (Interfor), disagreed with union statements that the settlement from the last strike in 2003 was imposed, and told the Alberni Valley Times that it had been a mutual settlement. He did agree, however, that in spite of some fiber stockpiling, companies will find it difficult to carry on if the strike is prolonged.


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