HALIFAX – Unifor is extremely disappointed with the outcome of the government of Nova Scotia’s decision today concerning the future of Northern Pulp that puts thousands of jobs at risk.
“We expect the company to meet and even exceed environmental laws and regulations and to conduct whatever studies are required, but today’s decision - given the timelines around getting the effluent treatment plant completed - will inevitably result in the loss of thousands of jobs associated with the operation of the mill, including 240 Unifor members,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.
While the minister of the environment, Margaret Miller, admitted the company “did a good job” providing information in its 1,700-page submission, addressing every point the government had asked of them, she is asking for additional information in the form of a “focus report.”
Today, the company has said without time to complete the studies and construct the new effluent facility, it will cease operations in Nova Scotia.
“This will be devastating for our members and their families, but also for so many other Nova Scotia families who depend on the forest sector for employment and this doesn’t need to be the outcome,” said Payne.
“We are calling on the Premier to immediately work with stakeholders to facilitate a resolution. It is unacceptable to stand by and watch thousands of jobs go and not fight for these families and this sector,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the President. “The lack of political leadership or interest in finding a solution that supports good jobs and protects the environment has been part of the problem here and has contributed to a deeply-divided community.”
Unifor leadership, including President Jerry Dias, Payne, Doherty, and members of Unifor Local 440 Executive, have meetings next week with Premier McNeil and opposition leader Tim Houston to discuss the situation.
Unifor represents more than 240 workers at Northern Pulp, and over 24,000 members in the forestry sector across Canada.