Nfld. & Labrador

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper trimming full-time staff, shutdown coming on Christmas Eve

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper announced on Friday its plan to restructure staff to improve its labour costs.

Shutdown expected for 2 weeks

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is the last paper mill in Newfoundland. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper announced Friday it is restructuring staff to keep its labour costs in line, and that will mean a loss of permanent status for some workers at Newfoundland and Labrador's only newsprint mill.

Overall, 22 employees will be affected.

The company said the workers will retain full-time employment as they will be reassigned to the mill's casual pool. 

In a statement, the Kruger Inc.-owned mill said it will halt production on Christmas Eve for two weeks.

The company will resume production on Jan. 6, affecting 365 employees.

More interruptions in the mill's schedule could be on the horizon. 

"Depending on forthcoming newsprint market conditions, the company could eventually interrupt temporarily its production over the winter to restore balance in its order book," the statement said.

Mayor Jim Parsons says the shutdown is only a temporary problem, but feels for those affected over the holidays. (Kody Gardner/CBC)

Neither woodlands operations nor Deer Lake Power are affected by the internal restructuring plan, the company said.

In an e-mail to CBC News, the company said it will not be commenting.

'Temporary setback,' says mayor

Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons said it's never good to hear about shutdowns, but believes this one is only a temporary problem for the mill.

"We do maintain good communications with the mill, and I do know that currently the market is soft and prices are down," Parsons told CBC News. 

He said the mill forecast a drop in market price at some point over the next six to eight months.

The mayor added that Kruger has made significant investments into the mill over the last number of years, leaving him hopeful for the long term.

"I would definitely urge no one to panic. Obviously I feel for the people affected over the Christmas break. I would imagine that part of their strategy is to take that time when it might be most convenient from a holidays and that kind of perspective," Parsons said. 

"But as far as I can tell, this is a temporary problem and over the next number of months it should be resolved."

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