LABOR: ABITIBI WORKERS RETURN TO WORK

Pulp & Paper Canada
December 31, 1998
By Pulp & Paper Canada
MONTREAL, QC -- The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, which represents 4000 members, ratified a new six-year contract that gives average annual pay increases of 2%. Yet the return of striking Abitibi-Consolidated workers, who shut down 10 mills in Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland, may have an negative effect on pricing for newsprint, analysts speculate. Prices, which stood at $590 (US) per tonne, could drop by up to 15%, to $510 (US) per tonne by mid-1999. The problem is global overcapacity. A possible solution was outlined by Abitibi chairman Ron Oberlander. He called on other newsprint producers to curtail production, suggesting that A-C has done its fair share. The five-month strike removed 1.4 Mt of newsprint from production.

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