By: Williams Lake Tribune
Tolko Industries Ltd. announced Monday it plans to curtail the eight inch canter line at its Lakeview Mill in Williams Lake effective March 4, 2016.
It’s a move that comes because of the ongoing degradation in log fibre quality, increasing log costs and the continued downturn in the Chinese market reducing the demand for the mill’s number three and economy lumber, the company said.
“The decision to curtail the canter line may affect approximately 30 people and may result in a change to the current schedule of the mill,” said Troy Connolly, senior general manager of lumber. “We have informed our employees and our HR team is currently working with local union representatives to mitigate the impact on any potentially affected employees.”
United Steelworkers Union Local 1-425 president Paul French said Monday the curtailment will impact approximately four jobs, but will result in a net balance with no loss of jobs.
“The company is talking about a different configuration, going from five eight-hour shifts to four ten-hour shifts, and running three 12-hour shifts on the weekends. Those weekend shifts will need guys to run them.”
With the mountain pine beetle kill wood supply coming to an end and the cost of going out to get what’s left too high, it’s becoming an issue to get quality timber to the mill, French said.
“All we know is that they will only run the 10 inch line.”
French said union wants help the company do what it needs to do to keep in business and with the curtailment going into effect on March 4, both sides have time to sit down and work out the fine particulars of the shifting.
Connolly said the curtailment is necessary in current market conditions and is not reflective of staff commitment.
“We have a great team at Lakeview,” he said. “From 2014 to 2015 they have had a 100 per cent improvement in their safety statistics and are focused on delivering great results for the company. However, the economics of delivering a low grade log that then results in low grade lumber is simply not affordable. We have to reconfigure to ensure the mill can remain competitive and operational.”