Union outraged at $47 million in bonuses for Smurfit-Stone executives

    OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Forestry workers across Canada are
outraged that one of Canada's leading pulp and paper companies has awarded its
executives with $47 million in bonuses.
    "It's totally obscene and scandalous," says Dave Coles, President of the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. "Instead of
protecting the jobs and pensions of those who have toiled over the years to
make them profitable, the company's credo is 'take the money and run.'"
    "Workers from coast to coast have done more than their fair share to help
companies survive this financial crisis, add Coles. And now, Smurfit-Stone,
currently under bankruptcy protection for financial reasons, hands out
$47-million dollars in executive bonuses. Our members are outraged."
    "Members at the Smurfit-Stone mill in Portage-du-Fort, Quebec, for
example, have twice agreed to negotiate cost-saving measures in the order of
several million dollars. But the company ended up closing its doors last fall.
In February, Smurfit-Stone placed itself under the protection of the courts.
    The company also recently met with directors of the mills in Ville
Mont-Royal and Saint-Laurent to deliver an ultimatum. They told employees they
had a week to present a plan, to reduce costs by $8 million per year.
    "Now, we know that while they were demanding concessions from workers,
they were also seeking court approval for executive bonus pay packs," says
Coles, who adds that "CEP members have explored every angle to save forestry
jobs and mills.
    "Since 2004, pulp and paper and sawmill workers at almost every worksite
have been in constant negotiations and restructuring to assist struggling
mills," he says. "They have negotiated efficiency and productivity measures
worth hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for the companies."

    CEP represents more than 2,000 unionized Smurfit-Stone workers in 10
mills located in Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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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