Fewer jobs are going to be lost as a result of Canfor’s closure of the PG Pulp and Paper Mill than exptected.
When the closure was announced in January, it was estimated around 300 jobs would be lost, including approximately 200 union positions.
However, Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 9 President Chuck LeBlanc estimates that’s been reduced to about 90.
LeBlanc said many of the affected employees used the province’s Bridging to Retirement program.
“At PG Intercon, we had about 32 members take the company up on an offer there, so they’re going to use that program and Canfor is also going to enhance the package a little bit,” LeBlanc said.
“Up at Northwood, the company also allowed members up there, for the Unifor Local, to access that program, and that was right around 30-ish members up there that took that program, along with another 25 or 30 openings that they had. Between those three parts there, there’s 90 people that will be taking part in that.”
LeBlanc noted there were also about 28 members that have already moved onto other jobs.
“It really brought the numbers that will get a layoff down quite a bit.”
LeBlanc noted he’s not sure how many people on the staff side will be able to use those programs, but there’s still going to be around 90 people who will be laid off.
“There’s hopefully some opportunities to get back in with Canfor down the road, but that’ll play out over time,” LeBlanc said.
“Whether it’s 200 or still 90 families that are losing a good-paying job, which is still upsetting, it’s still a blow to the community also, some of these people will be moving on. It’s great that we were able to get to this point, but it’s still 90 people, and that’s tough on those families, those hard working people, they’re all very skilled workers, and I believe they’ll find work, it’s just always hard to go through that process.”