Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Northern Pulp dumps its elders unionized employees

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Northern Pulp ceased operations in 2020, but hopes to one day reopen a new paper mill in Nova Scotia. (Archive image).

Radio-Canada

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A former flagship company in Nova Scotia's forestry sector, paper maker Northern Pulp has officially severed ties with its 110 former unionized employees by announcing that they are no longer participating in the company's pension plan.

Papier Excellence, which owns Northern Pulp, ended their membership in the scheme on January 1.

This decision is disappointing, says Unifor. The union that represents the workers says it leaves out a group of employees who have been their staunchest defenders.

The consequences for these workers are devastating, says Unifor's Atlantic regional director, Jennifer Murray. that your employer will support you in return, she continues. I can only imagine how difficult this uncertainty is for our members to bear.

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The plant, which opened in 1967 in Abercrombie, Pictou County, ceased operations four years ago. It had failed to convince the provincial Liberal government of Stephen McNeil to allow it to continue pumping its effluent into Boat Harbour, an estuary adjacent to the Mi'kmaw community of Pictou Landing.

Northern Pulp has removed the recall rights of its former staff at the same time.

In a Facebook post, the paper company, which is now called Tomorrow’s Mill, says it remains committed to reopening a factory in Nova Scotia. We remain committed to offering new jobs to our former workers if the factory reopens, the company writes.

This decision is only one way to save money for Northern Pulp if it resumes operations, denounces Jennifer Murray.

With their employment and recall rights terminated, the only way to return to work for Northern Pulp will be to sign a completely new contract that the employer deems appropriate, she adds.

According to Mr. Murray, the 50 employees who contributed to a defined benefit plan would be forced to contribute to a less predictable defined contribution plan.

What employees can do with what they have accumulated depends on a number of factors, including length of employment and age. The union plans to meet with its members to review their options.

People who already receive a pension from Northern Pulp are not targeted.

With information from Jean Laroche, CBC

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