Difficult Christmas ahead for Williams Lake Tolko mill workers

By Greg Fry
November 30, 2017 - 11:47am

KAMLOOPS — Christmas won't be very merry for more than 100 Williams Lake mill workers.

A fire earlier this month has forced Tolko Industries to rebuild its Lakeview operation.

"I'm thinking it'll be 140-150 laid off for a period of time," says Paul French, Local 1-2017 vice-president with the United Steelworkers, who adds Tolko has told them it will likely be six months before the rebuild is complete.

He says the Nov. 2 blaze burned one corner of the building, destroying the sawmill offices, lunch room, filing room and machine shop.

"So, it's not as bad as we originally feared but it's still a lot of work to do."

Even so, French says employees working on the planer only have three or four days left on the job. He notes the company is doing all it can, saying it overstaffed planer shifts and plans to put staff to work at its Soda Creek mill and its Quest operation in Quesnel.

"They've created an extra shift. So about 20-40 people will be going over there to work," he says."But basically it's EI or look for a temporary job for everyone else in the short term."


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