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North Island MLA meeting with contractors about ‘crisis in forest industry’

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North Island MLA Claire Trevena is meeting with contractors tomorrow afternoon, about what she’s calling ‘the crisis in the forest industry.’

The meeting is happening at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre and is by invitation only.

Trevena said it’s an opportunity to hear from contractors who have been “feeling the pinch thanks to the strike.”

The labour dispute between Western Forest Products Inc. and the United Steelworkers union has been going on since July 1.

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Trevena said the labour impasse has had far-reaching effects.

“There are obviously people who are struggling,” she said. “The steelworkers have been on strike for a long while, but this doesn’t just affect the steelworkers, it affects people right across the North Island so it’s an opportunity for me to hear from some of the people who are affected.”

She added that contractors “are obviously a very important part of our North Island economy.”

Trevena said the B.C. government believes in free collective bargaining and a strike is one part of that process.

But she said it’s “terribly unfortunate” that it has gone on so long.

“Whether it is a worker who is on strike, whether it is somebody whose business relies on the industries on strike, or whether it is a local community with the stores and everything else, there really are repercussions right the way through and that’s why it’s important for me to meet people and to hear their concerns and really see where I can help.”

Now that the meeting has gone out publicly, Trevena said she expects a lot of interest and said she “looks forward to meeting with people.”

Meanwhile, Finance Ministry numbers show that forest revenues have dropped 11 per cent this year.

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