Canada Forest Workers Union Ratify New Labor Deal

Oct 22, 2007 - Western Forest Products Inc. said the agreement reached between Forest Industrial Relations Ltd., the association bargaining on behalf of 31 coastal forestry companies including Western, and the United Steelworkers Union has been ratified by the Union membership.

Key provisions of the agreement include: a three-year term expiring June 14, 2010 with wage increases of 2%, 3% and 2%, respectively; the continuation of flexible shifting provided it is based on a bona fide business rationale; a new provision for severance pay for permanent closures of the principle processing and production operations of a site, even if minor parts of the site stay running; and a renewal of the Return on Capital Employed profit sharing provision.

The strike action commenced on July 21, 2007 and affected most of Western's timberlands and manufacturing operations.

"Although it was a difficult strike we are satisfied with the provisions of the new agreement with the United Steelworkers Union and look forward to our employees returning to work," said Reynold Hert, Western's president and CEO.

"The agreement has an appropriate balance between retaining skilled workers in a competitive labour market and business flexibility in the current challenging lumber market conditions," Hert added.

Western's operations are returning to work this week with logging camps and mills beginning production as personnel return and pre-start up safety training reviews are completed. The late start of fall timber harvesting may have an impact on the total availability of logs depending on the onset of winter weather conditions.

SOURCE: Western Forest Products Inc.

PaperAge. Copyright © O'Brien Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.