Nova Scotia

Maritime Paper workers prepare to walk off job

More than 100 unionized employees at Maritime Paper Products Ltd. in Dartmouth have given notice they will walk off the job on Friday.
More than 100 unionized employees at Maritime Paper Products Ltd. in Dartmouth have given notice they will walk off the job. (CBC)

More than 100 unionized employees at Maritime Paper Products Ltd. in Dartmouth have given notice they will walk off the job on Friday.

Kim Power, a national representative for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, said the employer wants more flexibility to schedule senior employees and concessions on benefits and pensions.

"Their demand is that all new employees would go on a defined contributions plan. They're currently on a defined benefit plan but without any guarantees," she told CBC News.

"There's a concern that in the future they will lose their benefits. They're not prepared to go to a two-tiered system."

Members of Local 1520 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union have been without a contract since May.

The unionized employees were invited to cast strike vote ballots earlier this week. Of the workers who voted, 90 per cent are in favour of strike action.

They've been in a legal strike position since Feb. 18.

Power said the strike will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday unless the company backs down on certain demands.

"We're always prepared to go back to the table again," she said Wednesday.

"There are some things that we can do but we're not prepared to give in totally to the employer's demands."

Maritime Paper Products, which manufactures corrugated cartons and other custom packaging, received a $2.1-million loan from the province last year and a four-year payroll rebate worth $200,000.

At the time, the Nova Scotia government said the money would improve productivity and competitiveness at the company, and the money was tied to maintaining the 118 workers at the plant.

Representatives of Scotia Investments Ltd., the plant owner, were unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

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