Weyerhaeuser cuts staff

  • Nov. 5, 2003 5:00 p.m.

Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd. laid off nine engineers and two contractors in its planning department last Friday (Oct. 31), and more layoffs may be ahead for the cash-strapped company.
Operations engineer Garth Johnson said Friday’s layoffs were unexpected.
“We have to curtail some controllable costs immediately,” he said. “It’s a cash flow issue.”
Two more planners in the mapping department will be laid off this Friday, Mr. Johnson said. The laid-off workers are not likely to return to work this year.
The company had planned to harvest 350,000 to 370,000 cubic metres this year, but has not yet met that target, Mr. Johnson said.
Harvesting work is continuing, but Weyerhaeuser has been waiting since May for the forest service to approve a forest development plan, Mr. Johnson said.
All the engineering work has already been done on this plan, leaving the planning side of things far ahead of harvesting, he explained.
“We are ahead with layout, given current and foreseeable harvest levels,” he said. “We are in cash conservation mode… We can’t keep spending on uncertainty.”
The company’s agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation to reduce its cut level and consult more about which areas will be harvested has nothing to do with the current impasse, Mr. Johnson said.
Weyerhaeuser holds TFL 39, the largest tree farm licence on the islands. The company and its contractors are the biggest employer on the islands.

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