Out of 326 active union employees, 177 objected to giving the company an extra five years to fund the unfunded portion of the pension plan. The rejections amount to 54.3 per cent.
Thirty-one of the 617 retired union members voted against the proposal.
The vote results for the non-union plan showed only six objections among active employees and seven from retirees.
Kruger Inc. says it will be reassessing the viability of the mill's operations.
Here is the text of the release:
KRUGER TO REASSESS THE VIABILITY OF ITS CORNER BROOK OPERATION
Pension plan funding relief measures rejected by active unionized employees
Corner Brook, NL, May 18, 2012 – Kruger Inc. today announced that it will reassess the viability of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s operations after one of four groups of pension plan members rejected the proposal to apply funding relief measures to its pension plan deficits.
Today, independent auditor Brian N. Hillier issued his final report showing the total number of objections received before the May 17 deadline from each group, as follows:
-Pension Plan for Unionized Employees:
>Active members (326): 177 objections 54.3%
>Retired members (617): 31 objections 5.0%
-Pension Plan for Non-Unionized Employees:
>Active members (78): 6 objections 7.7%
>Retired members (218): 7 objections 3.2%
Under NL legislation, in order for the relief measures to be applied, they cannot be
opposed by more than one-third of members in each group (active and retirees).
Consequently, with 54.3% of active unionized employees opposing the proposal,
the relief measures cannot be applied to the unionized employees’ pension plan.
The relief measures were a crucial element in the Mill’s strategy to improve its
competitiveness and secure its future. In recent years, the Kruger Company has
gone to extraordinary lengths to support its Corner Brook operation in a very
challenging market afflicted by declining demand for newsprint, increasing energy
costs and the negative effects of a strong Canadian currency on exports.
In addition to these challenges, the Corner Brook Mill has to contend with other
Canadian paper mills that have competitive operating costs and benefit from the
additional advantage of funding relief measures for their own pension plan deficits.
The Company is disappointed with this outcome, especially considering the
countless efforts that were put in over the last few weeks to communicate with
plan members to seek their support.
Founded in 1904, Kruger Inc. is a major producer of publication papers, tissue,
lumber and other wood products, corrugated cartons from recycled fibres, green and
renewable energy and wines and spirits. The Company is also a leader in paper and
paperboard recycling in North America. Kruger operates facilities in Quebec, Ontario,
British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the United States.