Catalyst reaches 5-year cost-cutting deal with unions at 3 B.C. mills

By The Canadian Press  | March 19, 2012

VANCOUVER – Insolvent Catalyst Paper has reached cost-cutting labour agreements with unions representing more than 1,000 paper and pulp workers at three mills in British Columbia.

Catalyst said it expects annual savings of $18 million to $23 million under the five-year deals with workers at its Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River mills.

The new contracts will go into effect at the expiry of the current contract on April 30.

The agreements, from May 1, include a 10 per cent reduction in hourly rates along with various adjustments to vacation, health benefits and work rules necessary to provide Catalyst with a competitive labour cost structure, the company said.

“Approval of the new labour agreements lets everyone know that the people who make up Catalyst are taking the actions necessary to save jobs and ensure we have a viable and competitive business for the future,” said president and CEO Kevin Clarke.

“We appreciate there is still an enormous amount of work to do to complete the restructuring plan that will enable the company to exit creditor protection on solid footing going forward.”

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada locals 1, 76, 592, 686 and 1132 represent 700 employees at the three mills. The Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers Union of Canada local 2 represents approximately 380 employees at the Crofton pulp mill.

Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse specialty mechanical printing papers, newsprint and pulp. With four mills, located in British Columbia and Arizona, Catalyst has a combined annual production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes.

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