Nfld. & Labrador

Mill's job losses and temporary closure will have 'ripple effect': BoT president

The mill's temporary shutdown, and the loss of permanent jobs, will affect other businesses in the region, says Keith Goulding.

Keith Goulding says the 2-week shutdown will be felt across the region

Keith Goulding, president of the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade, says the temporary shutdown and job cuts will cause uncertainty through the region. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The negative effects of job losses and a two-week shutdown of operations at the town's paper mill will be felt beyond Corner Brook, says the president of the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade. 

Everyone from business vendors who work with the mill directly to local retailers will likely see the effects of the loss of permanent jobs and a temporary cut in income for the remaining employees, Keith Goulding told Newfoundland Morning.

"It has ripple effects through the entire western region, and central Newfoundland and Labrador as well," Goulding said.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper announced Friday that it would be cutting back its workforce by 22 permanent positions and temporarily shutting down for two weeks over the holidays, beginning Christmas Eve. The affected employees will move into the mill's casual pool.

The mill has 300 employees and 65 people working in forest operations. 

Such a shutdown is not unusual for resource sector employers, Goulding said, pointing to the oil industry as another where companies will slow or stop operations for a period of time when the market is flooded.

The hope is that the shutdown is only a temporary situation, he said, but the concern that it could happen again this winter, based on the statement announcing the closure and job cuts, will add to uncertainty for local consumers during the busy holiday shopping season.

"It sounds like they're getting us ready for the fact that this might not be a one-time occurrence."

U.S. market getting smaller: Humber

Paul Humber, president of Unifor Local 242, said while nobody wants to be out of work, the union's members do recognize the market issues parent company Kruger is dealing with.

"With the price of paper being low like it is we understand the downtime is necessary for inventory adjustment. The American market is shrinking year-over-year and we have over-capacity," Humber told CBC in an emailed statement.

"We are hoping that this two weeks' downtime is all that will be necessary, but we recognize that further inventory adjustment may be required in the early winter and spring."

Humber also pointed out that the mill is a low-cost producer, which could help it down the road as higher-cost producers exit the market.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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