Northern Pulp workers abandoned by government, company

Montage of forestry workers wearing orange safety vests (CNW Group/Unifor)

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HALIFAX— Unifor is disappointed by Northern Pulp parent company Paper Excellence’s decision not to make a special pension payment for its workers in today’s British Columbia Supreme Court filing.

“The provincial government and the company can spend the next decade arguing about who will end up paying the bills, but our members do not have that luxury,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “The people who worked at the mill, sustained the local economy, and built lives for themselves and their families do not deserve to be treated like political footballs, tossed back and forth between an uncooperative government and a stubborn company.”

Throughout the years of uncertainty facing the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Unifor has maintained a position of staunch defense for the workers, standing up for their good jobs, and advocating for fair treatment from both the company and the Nova Scotia government.

The union repeatedly called for strong, multi-stakeholder leadership to guide a path forward for the mill that would maintain good forestry jobs across the province, protect the environment, and respect First Nations.

“This news is incredibly hard for recent retirees who have zero time left to alter their plans for their senior years, particularly as the cost of everything soars,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “The Nova Scotia government set up a $63.5 million Forestry Transition Fund when Northern Pulp was forced to cease operations, which excluded workers at the mill itself. Now, it seems the company has turned its back, too, and that leaves our members without any support, and increased anxiety about their retirement.”

Unifor has requested an urgent meeting with Premier Houston to discuss the ongoing situation at Northern Pulp but has received no response to its request.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Source: Unifor