Interior forestry workers hit with more layoffs
The situation in B.C.'s forestry industry went from bad to worse on Wednesday.
The day after mill closures in the Kootenays and the Interior, another forest company -- Tolko -- is sending home 1,300 workers, and there is little chance of them being called back to work any time soon.
Gordon Nash was worried as he headed back to work Wednesday.
He works at Tolko. The company starts the layoffs next week. Fewer than 600 will be called back, and many wonder it that will actually happen.
"We know it could be a little longer, depending on what happens," he said.
And this announcement comes on the heels of similar announcements by Canfor and Tembec on Tuesday.
Mill workers in Vavenby are among those affected by temporary shutdowns.
Jim Baskerville of Tolko Industries said the industry was in serious trouble.
"In 23 years lumber futures have never been so low... [the] worst ever," he said.
Kamloops Liberal MLA Claude Richmond is preparing to retire in a few months. He says government programs can help workers move to pension plans or retrain, but the former forest minister says any direct bail-out would prompt another expensive trade battle with the U.S., where 85 per cent of our exports end up.
"Until the U.S. housing market turns around, we're in real trouble," said Richmond.
His city of Kamloops lost a Weyerhauser sawmill within the past few years, but holds onto 700 jobs at its Comtar pulpmill.
"Heaven forbid we ever lose that pulp mill," said Richmond.
These latest layoffs add to the 17,000 direct forestry jobs that were lost between 2007 and 2008.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat.