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Workers discontent at Mackenzie pulp mill


January 30, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Safety concerns and pay cheques have workers at the Mackenzie pulp mill about ready to throw in the towel. A recent…

Safety concerns and pay cheques have workers at the Mackenzie pulp mill about ready to throw in the towel. A recent news article by the Globe and Mail reported employees carting fuel barrels to and from the facility to trade them for diesel to avoid paying a $50 deposit, a “skeleton” crew working at the facility to keep boilers running to ensure the equipment didn’t freeze and prompt a spill, delayed paycheques, and the absence of a new owner who pledged to save the faltering facility.

“Enough is enough,” the Globe reported Don Gervais, an employee at the mill as saying. “If we’re not being paid, there’s no point in sticking around.”

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Workers have expressed concern for their safety with regards to alleged failures by the mill owner to comply with directives to properly maintain the site, and threatened not to come to work. The Globe reported the safety implications of this, noting that tanks containing chlorine dioxide could freeze and break, “sending a cloud of poison gas over the town of about 5,000 people.” An emergency order by the province guaranteed workers they would be paid, prompting themto return to work. The order is effective for 15 days.


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