23 Aug 2005

New jobs for Union workers have top priority

An organisation has been put in place to help workers at Norske Skog Union in finding new jobs if Norske Skog's corporate assembly approves the decision to close the mill south of Oslo.

Certain measures have already been initiated to look after employees after the announcement of the closure plan earlier this summer.

"We've joined forces with specialists in change processes to establish contingency arrangements for taking care of our employees in a difficult period," says chief executive Jan Oksum.

"It's important for me personally that we can maintain the good cooperation we've traditionally had with the unions in Norske Skog in these difficult times.
"We'll be collaborating to find the best possible solutions which ensure that as many workers as possible find new jobs in the district. I'm concerned to secure active and open communication on all such activities."
He notes that personnel at Norske Skog Union generally have a very high level of expertise, which will be attractive to other Norske Skog units and to companies in the local Grenland region.
"We've had a meeting with ScanWafer, which needs a large number of additional industrial workers. The top priority is to help employees secure a new permanent job.
"Personnel who're willing to move on a permanent basis will also be offered new jobs at alternative Norske Skog units."
Opportunities to work in other parts of the group, both nationally and internationally, will be identified and offered to Norske Skog Union employees.
The roughly 30 apprentices at the mill will be offered a solution which ensures that they can complete their training, either at Norske Skog's other Norwegian mills or through deals with companies in the region.
Older workers will be offered jobs at other Norske Skog units or allowed to continue working at the mill site in such roles as security at and maintenance of the plant after its closure.
Employees who can immediately transfer to a new job will only have to work brief periods of notice, or none at all.
Norske Skog will also ensure that existing employees who have started to train for formal certification or trade qualifications will be able to complete the course.
Other experienced operatives without formal trade qualifications will also be offered the opportunity to train and qualify.
A total of 12 employees have signed up to this programme, and seven have already begin training at the Norske Skog Follum mill in Hønefoss north of Oslo.
The Norske Skog management and union officials are due to hold discussions on the content of a financial package of support measures.
These could include help with moving costs or long-distance commuting for employees and apprentices who accept the offer of transferring to another Norske Skog mill.
The company is also ready to seek good solutions for early retirement packages, severance pay schemes and support for further education.
Oksenøya, 23 August 2005
Norske Skog
Corporate communications