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Unions, Catalyst reach cost cutting deals in BC

Insolvent Catalyst Paper has reached cost-cutting labour agreements with unions representing more than 1,000 paper and pulp workers at three mills in BC.


March 20, 2012
Joe Terrett

RICHMOND, BC: Catalyst Paper reached new labour agreements with unions representing more than 1,000 paper and pulp workers at three of its BC paper mills.

The five-year agreements include a 10% reduction in hourly rates and adjustments to vacation, health benefits and work rules but maintain hourly retiree health benefits. The insolvent Richmond, BC-based paper company estimates annual savings to range between $18 million and $20 million.

The new contracts will go into effect May 1 at Catalyst’s Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River mills.

“Approval of the new labour agreements lets everyone know that the people who make up Catalyst are taking the actions necessary to save jobs and ensure we have a viable and competitive business for the future,” said president and CEO Kevin Clarke. “We appreciate there is still an enormous amount of work to do to complete the restructuring plan that will enable the company to exit creditor protection on solid footing going forward.”

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada locals 1, 76, 592, 686 and 1132 represent 700 employees at the three mills. The Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers Union of Canada local 2 represents approximately 380 employees at the Crofton pulp mill.

Catalyst Paper manufactures specialty mechanical printing papers, newsprint and pulp at four mills in BC and Arizona, Catalyst, Combined annual production capacity is 1.8 million tonnes.