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Western Forest Products cuts 2,000 jobs


June 19, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Weak markets in Japan and the US mean hard times for close to 2,000 Western Forest Products employees in British Co…

Weak markets in Japan and the US mean hard times for close to 2,000 Western Forest Products employees in British Columbia. The company has confirmed plans to lay off 650 hourly and 1,200 contractor employees in the months of July and august on Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

Together, the cutbacks represent more than half the amount of harvesting operations WFP typically undertakes during the summer months. As a result, the company is additionally closing its sawmill in Duke point.

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According to a report by the Canadian Press, the announcement has been met with opposition from BC New Democrat Leader Carole James, who challenged the Liberal government is not doing enough to safeguard forestry sector jobs.

“People are laid off again, workers are out of work, communities are in crisis, and the government continues to say there’s nothing they can do,” CP reported James as saying. “Nobody denies that the forestry industry is subject to outside forces, but the crisis you see today is because government put policies in place that aren’t helping the industry weather those outside factors.”

CP further reported that James said the government permitted WFP to sell Island forest lands to private developers earlier in the year, in exchange for a job-protection commitment, but the deal has not gone as planned.

Western Forest Products confirmed that further cutbacks may be in store, as the company tries to adapt to weaker market conditions.


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