Quebec minister meets with White Birch Paper president after company announces permanent closure of Stadacona mill in Quebec City, Quebec; government mediator trying to bring two sides back to bargaining table

LOS ANGELES , January 16, 2012 () –

The Quebec government has stepped in to help resolve the problems leading to White Birch Paper Co.’s announcement last week that it would permanently close its Stadacona mill in Quebec City, Quebec, reported The Canadian Press (CP) on Jan. 16.

After meeting with White Birch Paper President Christopher Brant on Monday, Quebec Economic Development Minister Sam Hamad said the solution would have to be worked out “between the owner and the workers.”

Hamad said he told Brandt that the loss of 600 jobs at the mill due to the deterioration in contract talks was disappointing, the CP reported.

Meanwhile, a government mediator is attempting to get the two sides back to the bargaining table.

Brant said last Thursday that he had no choice but to close the mill after the company’s final contract offer was rejected by workers, reported the CP. The mill has been down since last December.

Hamad, who is scheduled to meet with the mill’s union on Tuesday, repeated the government’s offer to help with financial assistance or pension-plan relief. However, Hamad noted that he didn’t want to give workers any false hope.

Quebec Natural Resources Minister Clement Gignac said last week that taxpayers will not have to bear the cost of keeping the mill open, the CP reported.

The mill, which makes newsprint, directory paper and paperboard, has been under pressure due to declining newsprint demand and rising input costs.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company’s final offer included wage cuts of 20% and pension plan reductions of between 45% and 65%, according to the union, reported the CP.

The primary source of this article is The Canadian Press, Toronto, Ontario, on Jan. 16, 2012.

 

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