Corner Brook Pulp and Paper trimming full-time staff, shutdown coming on Christmas Eve

CANADA (From news reports) -- Corner Brook Pulp and Paper announced this monrth it is restructuring staff to keep its labour costs in line, and that will mean a loss of permanent status for some workers at Newfoundland and Labrador's only newsprint mill.

Overall, 22 employees will be affected.

The company said the workers will retain full-time employment as they will be reassigned to the mill's casual pool.

In a statement, the Kruger Inc.-owned mill said it will halt production on Christmas Eve for two weeks.

The company will resume production on Jan. 6, affecting 365 employees.

More interruptions in the mill's schedule could be on the horizon.

"Depending on forthcoming newsprint market conditions, the company could eventually interrupt temporarily its production over the winter to restore balance in its order book," the statement said.

Neither woodlands operations nor Deer Lake Power are affected by the internal restructuring plan, the company said.

In an e-mail, the company said it will not be commenting.

Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons said it's never good to hear about shutdowns, but believes this one is only a temporary problem for the mill.

"We do maintain good communications with the mill, and I do know that currently the market is soft and prices are down," Parsons said.

He said the mill forecasted a drop in market price at some point over the next six to eight months.

The mayor added that Kruger Inc. has made significant investments into the mill over the last number of years, leaving him hopeful for the long term.

"I would definitely urge no one to panic. Obviously I feel for the people affected over the Christmas break. I would imagine that part of their strategy is to take that time when it might be most convenient from a holidays and that kind of perspective," Parsons said.

"But as far as I can tell, this is a temporary problem and over the next number of months it should be resolved."