Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and its parent company, Kruger, are remaining mum on whether or not job cuts at the paper mill are imminent.
Union representatives and company officials are scheduled to meet today amidst talk that a significant number of jobs could be affected.
Calls to the mill in Corner Brook Monday were deferred to Kruger’s head office in Montreal, but the company — as per its policy — declined to comment on its labour relations.
Bruce Randell, president of Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 242, said he has not been told anything about today’s meeting.
“We’d be shocked if that information came true,” Randell said of talk that as many as 90 jobs may be affected. “We don’t really see that happening.”
Randell is not ruling out measures such as early retirement packages, crew realignments or some employees being moved back into the casual labour pool, but is not sure how the mill can cut jobs altogether.
“The mill is basically after restructuring and downsizing for the last four years and we’re really at the bottom,” he said. “I can’t see where they are going to get the number of jobs that is being speculated are going to be gone.”
Keith Goulding, president of the Corner Brook Chamber of Commerce, said any jobs affected, whether through attrition or otherwise, is never good news for the local economy. In the worst case scenario, he is concerned about the impact potential job losses could have on affected families and the local retail sector.
While also worried about the effect any type of further downsizing of the mill’s workforce might have, Goulding said people have to realize the company must do what it has to in order to remain competitive in the difficult newsprint marketplace.
“To see anything negatively impact the mill, I am concerned about that,” he said. “If it means long-term viability for the mill, then we would obviously have to support that.”
The Western Star’s request for an interview with Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy was declined Monday.
This past weekend, Justice Minister Tom Marshall, the Tory MHA for Humber East, confirmed the provincial government has been told the company is expecting to cut jobs through attrition at the Corner Brook mill.
The Western Star