24 June 2009

Kruger slashes 130 jobs in Corner Brook

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited announced Wednesday the company will not re-start the Corner Brook  mill’s idled Number 4 paper-making machine.  The move will result in the loss of 130 jobs.

The move is blamed on deteriorating markets.

The Premier and other members of cabinet met with union officials on Wednesday afternoon at the government’s main office building in Corner Brook.

"There's no numbers put on the table from a perspective of … 'government, give us a cheque for this amount of money.' But [what] we have said is that we're prepared to play our part quite simply as we always have in any of these situations," [Premier Danny] Williams said.

"Our primary concern at these times is always the workers, the workers who are affected right now. And this mill needs to stay viable and competitive and needs to stay alive. And that's what we're discussing."

That tone compares markedly to the confrontational one that characterized government discussions with AbitibiBowater in Grand Falls-Windsor before that mill closed earlier this year.

Corner Brook is represented in the House of Assembly by the Premier and justice minister Tom Marshall.

In a related story, loggers are protesting on the Great Northern Peninsula to draw attention to their plight.

The forestry industry employs between 400 and 500 people on the peninsula.

The protest was called off around midday [Tuesday] to give politicians time to respond to the loggers. [Spokesman Ralph]Payne said Transportation and Works Minister Trevor Taylor, who is the Tory legislature member for The Straits and White Bay North, did call Tuesday afternoon and agreed to meet with the association Thursday, but Payne wants more than that.

“We want to meet with all four of them and that includes Trevor Taylor, Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale and the two other MHAs from the area, Wally Young (Tory legislature member for St. Barbe) and Darryl Kelly (the Tory legislature member for Humber Valley),” said Payne.