Forestry living the biggest single jobs crisis ever faced in one sector says CEP

    OTTAWA, Nov. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada will convene an emergency summit of union and
industry leaders in the forestry sector to deal with what it calls "the
biggest single jobs crisis ever faced in one sector."
    The call for an industry summit comes on the heels of the announced
permanent and indefinite closure of four more paper mills and two saw mills
announced today by Abitibi-Bowater.
    "Today's 1,000 or more victims in the mills in Dalhousie, N.B.,
Shawinigan and Donnacona, Quebec and McKenzie, B.C. bring the job losses in
the sector to over 20,000 in the past two to three years," said Dave Coles,
president of the 150,000 member CEP. "That would be like shutting the auto
industry down in southern Ontario.
    "We are beyond anger at the callousness of the Harper government which
has ignored our pleas that it convene a national summit of all stake holders
in the sector to find solutions to this crisis. It is like they have written
off one of the largest job creation industries in the country."
    Mr. Coles said he plans to contact company presidents individually to
urge them to attend the summit of both sides.
    "The forest industry is in crisis which means hundreds of communities in
the heartland of Canada are suffering and it is time for dramatic action. It
is time for the bleeding to stop," Mr. Coles said. "If Prime Minister Harper
won't convene a summit, we will do it ourselves to present a united front on
this crisis," Mr. Coles said.
    "We need a national strategy for forestry that will help workers,
industry and communities rejuvenate the sector through creation of value added
jobs from the resource," Mr. Coles added. "This is a renewable resource that
should be keeping Canadians at work, not putting them on the scrap heap.
    "Frankly, industry has brought much of the current crisis on itself. It
has refused to invest in new equipment and innovative practices. And that has
to change.
    "But the real villain behind the mill closures in recent times is the
irrational rise in the value of the Canadian dollar. Government has a huge
role to play in helping us overcome this situation."

For further information:

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

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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