NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS1130) – A landmark New Westminster employer is laying off almost a third of its workforce. 187 people are getting pink slips from the Kruger Products paper mill on the Fraser River. The operation is also taking some of its oldest machines out of service.
By September, the moves will drop staffing at the Kruger mill to around 400. General Manager Chuck Stewart says the cuts are not a sign the operation is about to disappear.
“Both geographically, and organizationally, we’re needed now and in the long term,” says Stewart.
Stewart adds the mill is the only tissue mill in western Canada.
“That gives us some fabulous advantages because shipping our products comes with a pretty significant transportation charge,” suggests Stewart. “Being closer to our consumers is exactly what we want to be. We’re the only ones out here, and we want to stay here.”
He adds Kruger has been spending money to improve the former Scott Paper operation.
“This mill has recieved over $100-million in investments over the last number of years, and I expect that to continue.”
Stewart notes the shutdown will end production of raw paper rolls for the industrial market, produced on inefficient machines that are more than 60 years old.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union local met with Kruger Wednesday afternoon to discuss the move.