OTTAWA AND VANCOUVER, Jan. 31, 2012 /CNW/ - The Communications, Energy
and Paperworkers Union of Canada says today's application for
bankruptcy protection by Catalyst Paper shows that the paper industry
is at a crossroads. The announcement is the latest in a string of
forestry companies that have been forced to seek Companies' Creditors
Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection over the past few years.
"If the paper industry in Western Canada is going to survive,
governments must act now to develop an industrial strategy and not
merely observe from the sidelines," says CEP's Western Region
Vice-President Jim Britton.
"We are extremely disappointed that after weeks of working toward a
solution, it has come to this. This is a potentially enormous blow to
workers and communities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast
which rely on the Catalyst mills for employment, business, and tax
"The forest industry in BC has lost 30,000 good-paying jobs in the last
decade and we can ill afford to lose any more."
CEP President Dave Coles took aim squarely at the federal government:
"Though it has had numerous opportunities, the Conservative government
has not lifted a finger to come to the aid of forest workers and their
communities from coast to coast," he said.
"Our repeated requests for temporary loan guarantees to assist the
forest industry have been ignored," says Coles, noting that governments
have helped other industries in similar situations. "Forestry was once
a cornerstone of the Canadian economy and - with the political will --
could be again. But the Harper government has never even acknowledged
our request for a summit of stakeholders to study renewal."
"Given the desperate situation for so many forestry workers, their
families and communities, it is absolutely no consolation that our
forewarnings for the industry are coming true."
"Speaking from experience with the CCAA," says Dave Coles, "the future
doesn't look good because we know exactly what's next: Workers' money
will be used to pay off creditors. This country's bankruptcy act
forces workers to the back of the line when it comes to collecting what
CEP represents more than 750 employee at Catalyst mills in Crofton, Port
Alberni, and Powell River in British Columbia.
There are 300 forestry dependent towns in Canada and 55,000 forestry
jobs have been lost in the past two years. The 135,000-member CEP
represents more than 60,000 forestry workers. There are 300,000 direct
and indirect jobs in the forest sector.
SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA
For further information:
Dave Coles 613 299-5628 or Jim Britton 604 992-6625 (cell) or 604 682-6501 ext.224