CEP calls on federal government to protect AbitibiBowater



    OTTAWA, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) has called on Prime Minister Steven Harper
to ensure that up to 12,000 Canadian jobs at AbitibiBowater won't be lost
because of the failed restructuring of the company's debt in negotiations with
US banks.
    "This is Canada's largest forest company and the majority of operations
and employees are in Canada, but we seem to be just watching and waiting,"
said CEP President Dave Coles. "We have 7,500 members and thousands more
pensioners who are nervous and looking for leadership from their government."
    In a message sent this morning to the Prime Minister's office, Coles
called on the government to make a statement to reassure investors and
creditors that the Canadian government will work with the company to assist
making credit arrangements. "Although the PM is in London at the G20 meetings
on the world economy, I have asked him to ensure that his government takes
timely action this week to prevent a critical failure in the Canadian
economy," said Coles.
    Coles said that the forest sector is as important as automobiles and
banking are to the Canadian economy with more direct jobs than either of the
other sectors. Yet, in the last federal budget, the federal government
earmarked $4 billion in assistance to the automakers, but only $170 million
for the forest sector. "What is it about tens of thousands of forest jobs that
this government doesn't get?" asked Coles.
    Coles also highlighted billions of dollars in US subsidies to the pulp
and paper through alternative fuel tax credits. If Canadian companies had
access to the same type of tax credit, they would be eligible to collect over
US$2 billion this year. "Ottawa seems to be oblivious to these challenges to
our forest industry," said Coles. "Canada must level the playing field, and
quickly."

    The 150,000-member CEP represents more than 60,000 forestry workers,
including 7,500 AbitibiBowater employees. There are 300,000 direct and
indirect jobs in the forest sector and over 300 forest-dependent communities
in Canada.

    
        AbitibiBowater and the forestry industry: Numbers at a glance

    Companies making more than one million tonnes of paper and board in 2007

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                                                                  P&B output
    Company                                                         (tonnes)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    International Paper                                           14,406,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stora Enso                                                    12,459,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    UPM                                                           11,389,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AbitibiBowater                                                 8,746,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oji Paper                                                      8,158,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nippon Paper                                                   7,745,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Smurfit-Stone Container                                        7,700,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Smurfit Kappa                                                  7,000,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Weyerhaeuser                                                   6,686,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Norske Skogindustrier                                          6,415,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: RISI's PPI Top 100


    Top Ten North American Newsprint Producers in 2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Capacity
    Company                                       (000 tonnes)  Market Share
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AbitibiBowater                                       4,775          41.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    White Birch                                          2,100          18.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kruger                                               1,140          10.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Catalyst Paper                                         890           7.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Pacific Paper (NORPAC)                           550           4.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tembec                                                 500           4.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Boise Paper                                            385           3.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alberta Newsprint                                      300           2.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Howe Sound                                             220           1.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Blue Heron                                             160           1.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: RISI's PPI Pulp & Paper Week, Nov. 21, 2008


    Canadian Forest Industry vs. Canadian Auto Industry

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Forest          Auto
                                                      Industry      Industry
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Revenue                                  $84 billion   $94 billion
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Exports                                  $42 billion   $80 billion
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    % of Canada's GDP                                        3%            3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    % of Canada's Manufacturing GDP                         12%         12.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Direct Jobs                                        300,000       135,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Direct and Indirect Jobs                           863,900       440,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sources: Forest Products Association of Canada, Statistics Canada, Ward's
    Automotive, CAW Research, Center for Automotive Research.


    Potential Payments to U.S. Companies Utilizing Alternative Fuel Tax
    Credits (in $US millions)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Company                                      Goldman Sachs   J.P. Morgan
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    International Paper                                  1,065         3,744
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Domtar                                                 354           916
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Temple-Inland                                          160           776
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MeadWestvaco                                           254           764
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Weyerhaeuser                                           219           560
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Packaging Corp. of America                             135           536
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sappi                                                   97           264
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL                                                2,284         7,560
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Company reports, J.P. Morgan estimates, Goldman Sachs estimates.
    Goldman Sachs numbers don't account for the incentive to produce extra
    black liquor to pocket more of the tax credit, while J.P. Morgan numbers
    express the maximum potential numbers. It is expected the total amount
    will likely be in between.
    




For further information:

For further information: Dave Coles, President, (613) 299-5628 (Cell.)

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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