Tolko plans to cut fourth shift at Heffley Creek, British Columbia, plywood mill, impacting up to 30 jobs; company blames high peeler log prices

LOS ANGELES , September 29, 2011 () – Tolko Industries Ltd. plans to drop a fourth shift at its Heffley Creek plywood operation in British Columbia at the end of October, impacting up to 30 jobs, according to a report by The Daily News.

The United Steelworkers union is working with Tolko to reduce the number of workers who will lose their jobs said Marty Gibbons, president of United Steelworkers Local 1-417.

The mill employs around 200 unionized workers and the union says the number of jobs affected could be anywhere between 10 and 30.

Measures include reducing overtime and encouraging unionized workers to take holidays. Gibbons said the union was optimistic that the number of lay-offs would be kept low, and added that the remaining shifts are economically viable.

Gibbons said Tolko had attributed the production cut to high prices for peeler logs.

Chris Ortner, a consulting forester in Kamloops, said unusual weather patterns this year had resulted in a limited log supply and this was driving up prices.

Gibbons said some were speculating that the sale of Weyerhaeuser’s timber rights to West Fraser and Interfor, part of the closure of Weyerhaeuser’s Kamloops sawmill in 2008, has contributed to the shortage.

The primary source of this article is The Daily News, Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sept. 28, 2011.

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