Nfld. & Labrador

Dunderdale rules out subsidies for Corner Brook mill

Subsidies from the province to keep Corner Brook Pulp and Paper operating are not an option, according to Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

Premier hasn't specified how the province can help the mill

Kruger Inc. says it is reviewing the viability of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, the only remaining newsprint mill in Newfoundland and Labrador. CBC (CBC )

Subsidies from the provincial government to keep Corner Brook Pulp and Paper operating are not an option, according to Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

"I am ruling out operational subsidies," she said Monday.

"We're not going there, and we've been quite clear on that to begin with, but they need to settle the matter that is very particular to them and that is the matter of wages and benefits."

The premier has said the province wants to do what it can to keep the mill open but she didn't elaborate on exactly what the province might do to help the struggling mill.

Both the company and the union are working through labour and pension issues that the mill’s owner, Kruger, says threaten the mill's viability.

The company has given its unionized workers until Friday to accept its final offer.

Union urges acceptance

Yesterday the national president of a union representing some employees at the Kruger mill in Corner Brook called on workers to accept the company's final offer.

Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada president Dave Coles said the company’s latest offer is in line with the deal the union negotiated with AbitibiBowater when it was going through bankruptcy.

Coles said that even though the package includes concessions, he is recommending acceptance. He said a new contract won't necessarily save the mill, but the facility does have several things going for it — it has a good workforce and Kruger has kept the plant well maintained.

Coles also said he's hopeful because the provincial government is willing to help even though he doesn't know the details of what's been promised.

Kruger concerned about viability

The company said in a press release Saturday that it left the bargaining table in Corner Brook without reaching an agreement with the unions before the previous deadline of Friday at midnight.

Kruger said all union locals have agreed to meet with members over the next week to hold a vote on the company’s final proposal.

In its Saturday news release, Kruger said it needs to settle labour issues so it can complete its assessment of the mill’s future viability.