Maintenance shutdown morphs into layoffs at Chetwynd
By Cindy Macdonald
The owners of Chetwynd Mechanical Pulp have laid off 109 workers and announced that the BCTMP mill will not reopen until March 31, 2016.
Employees of Paper Excellence received the news of layoffs on Nov. 27, but the mill has been closed since September. A planned two-week maintenance shutdown was extended due to market conditions. The company’s earlier plan was to re-open in January 2016.
After an afternoon meeting with Paper Excellence in early December, Unifor national representative Jon Hawkins told the Alaska Highway News he “has a bit of a hard time believing” that the employees will be back to work by the end of March 2016.
“I have got a feeling that it could get extended and it’s going to be hard for these people because they are going to have to find work somewhere else,” he said. “The bleached chemi thermo mechanical pulp market has tanked. I can’t see it coming up that much in that short amount of time.”
The Chetwynd mill was shuttered in 2012 by its former owner, Tembec. Paper Excellence purchased the plant and proceeded to invest $50 million to upgrade the facility. It reopened in May 2015.
A spokesperson for Paper Excellence says the layoffs are temporary and do not take effect immediately; they will be phased in.
Read more about the Chetwynd mill here.