Domtar's A-line closes Monday

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
March 22, 2013 01:00 AM

The A-line shuts down permanently at Domtar on Monday.

After months of waiting, Domtar's A-line pulp machine will shut down at the end of the work day Monday, union and corporate officials have confirmed.

By the time the dust completely settles later this spring, the number of layoffs will be the biggest in the Kamloops operation's history, said Doug Cumming of Local 10B of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

In the past, downsizing has been achieved through retirements and attrition, he said.

Some employees have already been phased out. Cumming said the next batch of layoffs take place April 22. He doesn't know how many people will be without work at that time.

"The whole process has been fairly frustrating, but we have worked through it," Cumming said Friday. "I don't think anybody gets good at shutting things down."

The company maintains that 125 jobs will be lost by the time the phase-out concludes later in the spring. Spokeswoman Bonny Skene said 30 jobs have already been cut.

Employees with the most seniority will bid into jobs at the mill's B-line operation and elsewhere on site, said Skene. The more junior employees will loose their jobs.

"They will end up leaving Domtar," she said. "It's going to take us weeks, likely months to do that."

Domtar announced in December it will close down its A-line pulp machine and lay off 125 workers. The company and union met regularly to come up with a transition plan, which the union rejected in a vote earlier this year.

Cumming said the union has worked hard to make the transition as smooth as possible. Some members will be asked to stay on and train people as others move into their job.

"Nobody will have to stay. There is no condition that says you have to stay," he said. "People being laid off are being laid off as of April 22."

A number of employees have found other jobs, but most of the work is not in Kamloops, said Cumming.

"They are finding work elsewhere," he said.


© Kamloops Daily News

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