Protests continue by Quebecor workers, union over 'irrational' closing



    OTTAWA, Oct. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Montreal-based Quebecor World Printing,
one of the world's largest commercial printers, came under attack today from
the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).
    Despite steadily rising profitability, Quebecor is closing its venerable
Marine Drive printing operation in Vancouver. More than 160 unionized workers,
plus office and sales staff, will lose employment as a result of the decision.
    CEP members at plants across Canada are protesting the company's action
by wearing black armbands today.
    Many of the displaced were long-term employees - some nearing
retirement - while others were in the process of serving trade
apprenticeships. The employer has announced a plan to move the majority of the
work produced in the Marine Drive facility to a plant in Edmonton, Alberta,
beyond the reach of the dislocated local workers.
    "David Lewis had it right years ago when he coined the term 'Corporate
Welfare Bums'," said Dave Coles, CEP National President. "This highly
profitable company is simply offloading the employer's rightful
responsibilities onto the taxpayer."
    "To close this plant and cut these workers loose for no good reason is
despicable and irresponsible," Coles continued. "The whole community suffers
when employers behave this way. This represents a couple of hundred good,
family-supporting jobs; and that's just the price employers are expected to
pay in return for using up the resources of the community and impacting on the
local environment. They should be held to account for the damage they create
by breaking this covenant."
    Duncan Brown, National Director of CEP's Graphical Sector, who was
involved in negotiations with company executives to save jobs, said "given
that the plant was profitable, this decision appears irrational."
    "Since there was no logic behind it," explained Brown, "there was no way
to stop them. Share prices have been falling steadily, yet the leaders of this
company think they will somehow reverse that trend by closing profitable
plants."
    "What we find especially disheartening," said Alex Charles, president of
the Vancouver local to which the Quebecor workers belong, "is that the
employer sat across the table from us and told us that the reason they were
closing the plant was that they simply didn't want to do business under this
collective agreement anymore."
    "We tried hard to negotiate a plan to keep people working, but the
company had already made their decision," added Charles. "Discussions with us
were merely to fulfill their legal responsibility under the Labour Code."

    Quebecor is the last in a series of owners who have, collectively,
produced printed matter at the facility for more than 50 years.




For further information:

For further information: Alex Charles, (604) 916-4859 (cell), (604)
879-5171

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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