Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

Forest employees would have been paid to attend pro-logging rally in Victoria

Those who did not would have had wages docked

A major BC forest company would have paid employees to attend a pro-logging rally planned for this week at the Legislature in Victoria and would have docked the wages of those who did not attend, sixmountains.ca has learned.

A letter from Western Forest Products to its employees reads: “Western is curtailing operations for the day to allow employees to participate in this rally. Because the forest industry is critically important to the B.C. economy and all of us, Western is supporting employees by providing time away from work to attend this important event.”

The letter also said: “Employees who do not participate in the rally will not be paid for Nov 18. Employees who attend the rally will be paid their regular earnings for the day.”

It added: “A photo of yourself at the rally must be submitted with your timecard to your Supervisor or Site Admin to be paid….”

In an email to sixmountains.ca, Babita Khunkhun, communications for Western Forest Products, added: “Given the high level of interest from our employees in participating in the rally, Western, with support from our union partners, decided to curtail operations on November 18….”

It’s unknown how many forest companies adopted a similar policy for the Nov. 18 rally — an initiative of BC Forestry Alliance related to the old-growth logging issue. The rally was cancelled due to the provincial flood crisis.

The Alliance has said the rally will be rescheduled.

Western Forest Products has a considerable presence in the Cowichan Valley area, including a log sort and sawmill at Ladysmith, sawmills at Cowichan Bay and Saltair, and a sawmill and Value Added division in Chemainus.

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— Larry Pynn, Nov. 19, 2021

Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg