MONTREAL (CP) -- AbitibiBowater Inc. has unveiled a plan to union officials to slash jobs at its Grand Falls-Windsor plant in Newfoundland as part of an effort to avoid closing the high-cost facility.
Up to 150 of the mill's 450 jobs are expected to be cut as the newspaper giant attempts to reduce what it claims is the industry's highest cost plant in North America.
"It's a solid renewal plan that does come with an important (number) of layoffs," company spokesman Jean-Philippe Cote.
A leaked report of the company's proposal said it will include a complete reorganization of its woodlands division that will result in the loss of 22 jobs.
Control of the division, which includes loggers and harvesters, will be turned over to a general contractor. Wood will be chipped off-site instead of at the mill and the existing chip room will close, the CBC reported.
Silviculture operations will also be phased out as AbitibiBowater turns to contractors. The manual cut and bunch classification division and the Black Duck Camp will be closed.
Cote declined to confirm the contents of the report, but said the details are just part of a comprehensive plan designed to make the mill profitable again.
"People knew that we were coming with a tough plan that would include tough layoffs, but the good side of it is to make sure that the mill is given a competitive advantage."
AbitibiBowater is in the midst of a Phase 2 review of its operations that could lead to closures if specific mills can't be restructured to become competitive.
During the first phase, the Montreal-based company announced plans to remove one million tonnes of newspaper capacity as it closed or idled more than half a dozen mills in Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Texas.
AbitibiBowater, the eighth-largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturer in the world, produces newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp and wood products.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Abitibi shares gained 23 cents to $6.91, an increase of 3.44 per cent in afternoon trading.