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Crisis in Forestry

More mill closures in New Brunswick and Quebec

UPM Kymmene mill in Miramichi, NB
(6 June 2007) - UPM Kymmene paper and ground wood mills in Miramichi, NB will shut down for nine to 12 months, and four more mills in Quebec are facing temporary shutdown, a communiqué from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) informs.

"Employers, especially in the forestry sector, have deliberately taken the money they have earned from our publicly-owned natural resources and invested them elsewhere in the world," the president of Canada's largest forestry union, Dave Coles, told the New Brunswick Federation of Labour on June 5 at its annual convention.

"These communities are a microcosm of what is going on in more than four dozen communities from coast to coast to coast," he said, noting that in the past three years more than 12,000 pulp, paper and sawmill workers have been put on the street across Canada.

"Forest companies are investing those good Canadian dollars in places where workers can most easily be exploited. And then they have the nerve to say Canadian workers can't compete," he said.

Coles called on the delegates to fight back and help CEP get the message out that this crisis needs government intervention. He reminded them that CEP was part of a multi-union lobby effort last week on Parliament Hill organized by the Canadian Labour Congress, and that mill workers in Ontario have been blocking bridges and barricading the Trans Canada highway to draw attention to their plight.

"Mr. Harper and his government need to know that this is just the beginning. ...We have no intention of letting him sell our resources, our jobs and our country off to the highest bidder," said Coles.

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