Forest workers have paid enough - Ont gov't must address energy costs

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - "Today's announcement by
AbitibiBowater that it intends to indefinitely shutdown paper machines #4 and
#5 is yet another cruel blow to our members, their families and the community
of Thunder Bay." That statement from Bob Huget, the Ontario Vice-President of
the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, representing the
more than 400 employees at the mill.
    "The financial sustainability of the industry cannot come on the backs of
workers any longer," says Huget. "We have given enough."
    "CEP members in Thunder Bay have worked with AbitibiBowater over the last
2 years to help save over $16 million in production costs. They have also paid
out of their own pockets for enhanced early retirement packages so our members
could retire with dignity. In return for all of these things, we are served
with another layoff and closure notice.
    "We have repeatedly called on the Government of Ontario to reduce the
high energy costs that this mill and many other mills in this province face.
We have asked them to reduce the industrial power rate, but the government
chooses to do nothing while more workers lose their jobs every day.
    "Our members are not responsible for the forestry crisis; we are not
responsible for the huge debt that AbitibiBowater struggles under. We didn't
make those decisions and yet we are paying the ultimate price for them.
    "The turnaround of this industry cannot solely be on the backs of
workers. It's time the Ontario Government and AbitibiBowater understand that.
We have demanded a high level meeting with senior management at AbitibiBowater
to discuss the sustainable operations of the Thunder Bay mill and at Abitibi's
other locations in Canada.
    "Until that meeting is complete we will not be entering into local
discussions at Thunder Bay, nor will we have any further comments on the
Company's plans for the mill."

For further information:

For further information: Bob Huget, (613) 299-9839; Kim Ginter, CEP
Ontario, Administrative Vice-President, (416) 931-2379

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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