WFP Ladysmith Division is having production curtailed until at least May 21. (Cole Schisler photo).

Ladysmith sawmill curtails work for a minimum of two weeks

Western Forest Products Ladysmith Sawmill temporarily idled due to a lack of properly sized logs

Approximately 80 workers at one of Ladysmith’s two waterfront sawmills will remain idle until at least after the Victoria Day long weekend.

Work was curtailed at Western Forest Products Ladysmith Sawmill on Monday, May 6 in a shutdown expected to last two weeks.

Babita Khunkhun, senior director of communications for WFP said the curtailment was due to a lack of logs that fit the Ladysmith mill. Khunkhun said the shortage was driven in part by increased competition for small logs from pulp companies.

“We recognize that this decision impacts our employees but the log supply challenges make this unavoidable. We will be working to mitigate impacts on employees, including looking to fill vacancies at other facilities where opportunities exist,” Khunkhun said.

RELATED: Ladysmith sawmill operations suspended due to log shortage

While Khunkhun said the curtailment is due to a shortage of logs, Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 8 representative and Ladysmith plant chair Adrian Soldera said the union was told the curtailment was due to increased logging costs and stumpage fees from the government.

“Our mill is buying 20 percent of our logs from the open market and those costs are increasing from the pulp mills buying all that wood,” Soldera said. “We were told that the increased costs due to the stumpage rates were part of the reason why we were shut down. They said it’s cheaper to pay the penalty than to get the logs out of the bush.”

RELATED: Western Forest Products to shut Alberni sawmill for a month

All WFP mills are in contract negotiations this year. Contracts for the Cowichan Bay, Saltair and Duke Point mills are up in June. The contract with Ladysmith mill expires in December. The current curtailment may or may not have an impact on those negotiations.

“I’m not going to say that’s true or not. Certainly if they’re saying it’s logging and it’s market conditions, then that’s because that we can’t operate the way we want to,” Soldera said. “We haven’t started negotiations yet, so I don’t want to surmise that.”

RELATED: Cowichan Bay sawmill to shutter operations for 2 weeks; union sees it as bargaining tactic

Soldera said he was told they operations would resume on May 21.

“We were told it would be two weeks,” Soldera said. “We don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that’s what we were told.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crimson Coast Dance Society salutes African dance during Black History Month

Dancers from Mozambique, Rwanda and Cameroon to give demonstrations and lessons

Nanaimo Clippers, clad in Snuneymuxw jerseys, win in OT

BCHL team wins both its weekend games to stay in contention for first place on the Island

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

Air Canada will offer direct Nanaimo-to-Toronto flights again this year

Seasonal service will run from June until October

Nanaimo a capital city in the beard business – Wildman Beard Co.

Wildman Beard Co. gained early success with Nanaimo mill workers

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Woodlands proposed to house students during Cilaire seismic upgrades

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ plan awaits ministry of education approval

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Most Read