Vernon-based forestry giant Tolko Industries has announced layoffs at two of its mills in the North Okanagan and Cariboo.
The company says it is cutting a shift at its Armstrong and Soda Creek (Williams Lake) operations, bringing both mills to just one shift a day.
About 130 full-time-equivalent positions are impacted — 65 at each location. About 100 million board feet of lumber will be removed from production at each mill.
Tolko says the cuts at Soda Creek will be permanent, while the single-shift approach in Armstrong will be “evaluated on a regular basis going forward to determine if any changes are required.”
Armstrong lumber employees were notified of the changes on April 10, with them going into effect today.
Soda Creek employees were informed earlier today with the changes going into effect at a date still to be determined.
Tolko vice president of solid wood Troy Connolly says the cuts are due to a lack of available fibre in B.C., high log costs and weak markets. “While our goal is to ensure consistency and stability for all of our operations, the steep decline in lumber demand and upward cost pressures in the province make the decision necessary."
“This downtime will affect many employees in these operations. We do not make these decisions without a lot of consideration,” continued Connolly. “We have an extremely committed workforce at these locations whose families and communities rely on Tolko. We will continue to support our employees during this challenging time.”
Tolko vice president of marketing and sales Pino Pucci says they will continue to support customers and “do our best to minimize any impacts.”
“Our customers are understanding of current market conditions and aware of our ongoing commitment to serve them.”