Pulp and Paper Canada

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Loss prompts Bowater Thunder Bay closure


January 30, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Roughly 280 people will soon be without a job, when Bowater shuts down a pulp mill in Thunder Bay, ON. After announ…

Roughly 280 people will soon be without a job, when Bowater shuts down a pulp mill in Thunder Bay, ON. After announcing a fourth quarter loss of $101.9 million, the company also confirmed plans to close its kraft mill at the end of April, as part of measures it will take in order to streamline operations.

“I regret the impact that our decision at Thunder Bay will have on our employees, their families and the community,” said president and CEO Arnold Nemirow. “However, this restructuring is essential for the viability of this site. Also critical is an improved operating environment in Ontario.”

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The province, ravaged by particularly high energy costs, has been the target of many mill closures and resulting job losses over the past year. Estimates have concluded that roughly 3,500 forest industry workers have lost their jobs in the province in the past few months alone.

This most recent closure announcement has provoked a response from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union, who is now calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “urgently address the crisis in the nation’s forestry sector.”

“Just before the election, the then federal government announced a $1.5 billion aid package for forest based companies and we are asking Mr. Harper to renew that commitment with a firm resolution to tie government aid to maintenance and creation of jobs,” said Brian Payne, union president.

Payne’s appeal came at the same time as CEP Ontario vice president Cecil Makowski demanded that Bowater reverse its decision and join forces with the union in its supplication to Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to find ways to save the Thunder Bay mill, and others like it.

“Our members in Thunder Bay need to know that we will leave no stone unturned in fighting this closure,” Makowski added.

Bowater’s fourth quarter loss more than doubled from the corresponding quarter last year. A year earlier, Q4 results were posted at $35.2 million, or the loss of 61 cents a share.


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