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Published on: 2/27/2009 4:48:47 PM Font Size:  Normal Text Large Text

Feds doing little to help forestry, says northwest MP.


By: Northern Ontario Business Staff

AbitibiBowater is temporarily laying off 650 workers at its Fort Frances paper plant for the entire month of March.
One paper machine will be shut down for five weeks, while two others will be idled for two weeks.
All workers will be back April 4 as work on a co-generation plant continues.
Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty isn't thrilled with the Harper government's "inaction" on aiding Northern Ontario's devastated forestry industry.
"These layoffs are a blow to workers at the Fort Frances mill, their families, and the entire community that depends on the mill," said NDP member Rafferty in a Feb. 24 statement. He said the operation represents 67 per cent of the local economy.
"Forestry is in its own six-plus year recession and tens of thousands of families have been affected by this crisis. How can this government offer more than $4 billion to the auto sector and just $170 million for the forestry sector?"
In Thunder Bay, laid off AbitibiBowater newsprint employees weren't scheduled to go back to work until March 16, after originally planned to return March 2.
The company blames the extension of the early February shutdown and re-start postponement on poor market conditions. The shutdown has affected 700 employees.
In Terrace Bay, 325 workers at Terrace Bay Pulp are on the outside after Buchanan Forest Products announced it was temporarily shutting down operations until April 6. Some employees will remain on the job to clear out inventory.
At nearby Marathon Pulp, 200 workers are drawing their last pay cheque as the company heads into bankruptcy protection.

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