UPM Miramichi paper machines closed


16 December 2004 – Miramichi (CAN): Hundreds of workers have walked out of UPM-Kymmene’s Miramichi paper plant in New Brunswick, forcing the company to close down two paper machines.

The strike, which could last months, occurs just days after the plant’s kraft mill was shut as part of a restructuring project.

Union leaders had given UPM 24 hours notice of the strike, which was scheduled to start at 5.30pm today local time. They were protesting the terms of their new contract with the plant, which was due for renewal.

Communications manager Sharon Pond told opi.net that the closure of the two paper machines would inevitably lead to the shutdown of the ground wood mill (which feeds the machines) as well as the plant’s two saw mills.

However she confirmed that the long-term future of the Miramichi plant was not in danger. She said: "UPM is committed to the Miramichi facility and the community, and we know this is just a temporary process that we have to go through. It is our intention to position the mill to assure its ability and competitiveness in the long term."

The company would not comment on possible losses accrued as a result of the strike.