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Vol. 76/No. 4      January 30, 2012

Quebec paper mill closed after
workers reject wage, pension cut
MONTREAL—On Jan. 12, the day after workers at White Birch’s Stadacona Mill in Quebec City voted 90.4 percent to refuse sweeping concession demands, the bosses announced the permanent closure of the mill.

The newsprint company had demanded pension reductions of 45 percent for workers over 55 and 65 percent for those under 55 and a wage cut of up to 21 percent.

There were 858 retired workers and 600 working when the company originally shut down Dec. 9. The workers are members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

White Birch has been under bankruptcy protection for two years, claiming debts of $900 million. The company has two other operating mills at Gatineau and Rivière-du-Loup in Quebec. Workers there voted down similar concession demands by 100 and 99 percent respectively in December.

“We couldn’t accept the offer,” said Jacques Renaud, a member of the union executive at the Stadacona mill. He told the Militant that workers will continue picketing at the plant.

Union officials demand that the Quebec government intervene and are preparing a counter offer to the company, covering the three White Birch plants in Quebec. The company said Jan. 18 it was willing to resume negotiations with the workers on reopening the Stadacona plant.
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