Western Forest Products Inc.

Western Forest Products Inc.

October 22, 2007 21:18 ET

Strike Ends at Western Forest Products as United Steelworkers Members Ratify New Labour Contract

DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2007) - Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) ("Western") today announced that the agreement reached between Forest Industrial Relations Ltd., the association bargaining on behalf of 31 coastal forestry companies including Western, and the United Steelworkers Union has been ratified by the Union membership.

Key provisions of the agreement include: a three-year term expiring June 14, 2010 with wage increases of 2%, 3% and 2%, respectively; the continuation of flexible shifting provided it is based on a bona fide business rationale; a new provision for severance pay for permanent closures of the principle processing and production operations of a site, even if minor parts of the site stay running; and a renewal of the Return on Capital Employed profit sharing provision. The strike action commenced on July 21, 2007 and affected most of Western's timberlands and manufacturing operations.

Commenting on the ratification of the new agreement, Reynold Hert, President and CEO noted, "Although it was a difficult strike we are satisfied with the provisions of the new agreement with the United Steelworkers Union and look forward to our employees returning to work." He went on to say, "The agreement has an appropriate balance between retaining skilled workers in a competitive labour market and business flexibility in the current challenging lumber market conditions."

Western's operations are returning to work this week with logging camps and mills beginning production as personnel return and pre-start up safety training reviews are completed. The late start of fall timber harvesting may have an impact on the total availability of logs depending on the onset of winter weather conditions.

Western Forest Products

Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer with an annual available harvest of approximately 7.5 million cubic metres of timber of which 7.3 million cubic metres is from Crown lands and 0.2 million cubic metres from private timberlands and lumber capacity in excess of 1.5 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing plants. Principal activities conducted by the Company and its subsidiaries include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western's operations, employees and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia while its products are sold in over 20 countries worldwide.

Forward Looking Statements and Information

This press release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities law. Those statements and information include statements or information regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of Western as it relates to the new three-year contract with the Steelworkers Union. Such statements or information may be indicated by words such as "approximately", "achieving", "estimated", "expect", "anticipate", "plan", "intend", "believe", "will", "should", "may" and similar words and phrases. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements or information are not guarantees and may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and that the actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements or information as a result of various factors including, changes in government regulation, and misjudgments in the course of preparing forward-looking statements or information. The information contained under the "Risk Factors" section of Western's Annual Information Form and under the "Risks and Uncertainties" section of Western's Management's Discussion and Analysis identifies important factors that could cause such differences. All written and oral forward-looking statements or information attributable to Western or persons acting on behalf of Western are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. Western does not expect to update forward-looking statements or information as conditions change.

Contact Information

  • Western Forest Products Inc.
    Reynold Hert
    President & CEO
    (250) 715-2207
    Western Forest Products Inc.
    Gary Ley
    (604) 787-5467