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Unifor voices disappointment at the abandonment of Northern Pulp workers


April 28, 2022
By P&PC Staff

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Unifor recently released a statement noting its disappointment that Northern Pulp’s parent company Paper Excellence did not make a special pension payment for its workers in its British Columbia Supreme Court filing.

“The provincial government and the company can spend the next decade arguing about who will end up paying the bills, but our members do not have that luxury,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “The people who worked at the mill sustained the local economy, and built lives for themselves and their families do not deserve to be treated like political footballs, tossed back and forth between an uncooperative government and a stubborn company.”

Unifor noted in a statement that throughout the years of uncertainty facing the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia, it has maintained a position of staunch defence for the workers, standing up for their good jobs, and advocating for fair treatment from both the company and the Nova Scotia government.

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The union has repeatedly called for strong, multi-stakeholder leadership to guide a path forward for the mill that would maintain good forestry jobs across the province, protect the environment and respect First Nations.

“This news is incredibly hard for recent retirees who have zero time left to alter their plans for their senior years, particularly as the cost of everything soars,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic regional director. “The Nova Scotia government set up a $63.5 million Forestry Transition Fund when Northern Pulp was forced to cease operations, which excluded workers at the mill itself. Now, it seems the company has turned its back, too, and that leaves our members without any support, and increased anxiety about their retirement.”

Unifor has requested an urgent meeting with Premier Houston to discuss the ongoing situation at Northern Pulp but is yet to receive a response to its request.