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Tembec Puts Pine Falls Newsprint Mill Up For Sale; Will End Lock-Out


December 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Tembec has announced that it will put its newsprint mill in Pine Falls, Man., up for sale. The facility, which has an annual capacity of approximately 200,000 tonnes, has been idled since September 1,…

Tembec has announced that it will put its newsprint mill in Pine Falls, Man., up for sale. The facility, which has an annual capacity of approximately 200,000 tonnes, has been idled since September 1, 2009 due to a labour dispute. “We have examined a full range of options related to our continuing ownership of this facility and have concluded that it is in the best interest of Tembec and the employees of the Pine Falls mill that we exit that site,” says John Valley, executive vice-president, business development and corporate affairs.

“It is our hope to find a new owner for the site and we are prepared to work with all parties to facilitate a transaction. However, if the sales process is not successful or if it is not completed in a timely manner, we will consider other options, including a permanent closure of the facility.”

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As a result of the decision to sell, Tembec informed the province of Manitoba and the United Steelworkers that it is prepared to end the current lockout, subject to reaching an agreement on a limited number of local issues. The ending of the lockout will not, however, mean a resumption of operations. The company has contacted the union through the USW to begin discussions on those issues.

Only days before Tembec’s announcement, locked-out workers from the mill responded with a collective “No” to the province’s offer of binding arbitration. The arbitration offer was put forward by Premier Greg Selinger’s government to settle the three-month labour dispute. The 270 unionized newsprint plant employees have been locked out of their workplace since August 31, when the majority turned down a proposal calling for wage and benefit concessions amounting to roughly 35%, the Winnipeg Free Press reported.


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