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Talks stall at Port Alice


September 19, 2005
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Workers at the Port Alice pulp mill have been dealt yet another blow in the struggle to find a new owner for the op…

Workers at the Port Alice pulp mill have been dealt yet another blow in the struggle to find a new owner for the operation. Plans to restart the mill have been stonewalled over the issue of environmental contamination. According to the Globe and Mail, B.C. Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen has been unable to strike an agreement with Richard Basset, who wants to operate the mill. The Globe has reported Mr. Hansen as saying the province won’t take responsibility for potential environmental issues that might crop up down the road.

September 16th marked an announcement by the Communications, Energy and Paperworker’s Union that workers at the mill had warned the government of their intent to withdraw their services as of 3 p.m. if no deal was reached. The withdrawal of the said services implied the termination of all water and air supplies, meaning that chemicals would be unstable and no fire protection would be available.

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"I can assure everyone that if there is no agreement in place by the deadline the CEP will commence working with employees in the province to implement a preferential hiring practice for our members in Port Alice," confirmed Dave Coles, CEP vice president.

Don Vye, CEP local 514 president conveyed his frustration at the lack of movement in trying to secure an owner for the mill. "The residents of Port Alice and the North Island are owed a decision on whether an agreement in principle on environmental issues can be reached to move this process forward," he said. "This cannot drag on any longer, people must be able to start making real decisions about their future.


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