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Red Rock closure sparks CEP backlash


September 28, 2005
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The permanent closure of PM1 at Red Rock, ON has sparked the contempt of the Communications, Energy and Paperworker…

The permanent closure of PM1 at Red Rock, ON has sparked the contempt of the Communications, Energy and Paperworker’s Union. Ontario region vice-president Cec Makowski lashed out, calling the closure, “irresponsible, callous and premature.”

“Natural Resources Minister Ramsay says he will publicly announce an economic aid package on September 30th. It makes absolutely no sense at all for Norampac to cut back its operations before they know what the government is prepared to do,” Makowski contended. “Norampac’s announced reasons for the closure energy and fibre costs are the very items which are supposed to be addressed by Mr. Ramsay.”

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However, according to engineering superintendent Bill Skrepichuk, the decision to shut down the machine came with great pains. “This was not a snap decision,” he said. “It was two years in the making. And even though the machine did run well, it had become a liability. We’ve been hit by the Canadian dollar, by a shrinking market, and energy has become a huge factor in our mill. Transportation costs have risen, freight is up 35% this year and we just can’t get enough for our product. No one can.”

Skrepichuk said he feels a tremendous amount of sympathy for the workers who lost their jobs, having suffered through a similar downsizing earlier in his career. “I watched the machine shut down, stood beside it and watched the last roll of paper go off. It’s really sad for the people who were on that machine, there is nothing but sadness for this situation. There is a roughness to it, and a sense of permanency. But I also think there’s a certain amount of compassion in doing it quickly.”

Although all the details have yet to be hammered out, 94 people were immediately affected by the machine’s shut down.


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