International Paper mill closure costs 371 jobs

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The Independent Online

Some 371 people are to lose their jobs as the closure of a giant paper mill was announced today.

International Paper will shut its Inverurie mill in Aberdeenshire at the end of next month.

The announcement follows a three-month "consultation" period.

Each worker is due to discuss their redundancy package arrangements in the coming days.

Scotland First Minister and local MSP Alex Salmond said the closure is a "big blow" for the workforce and community.

The mill was bought over by US-based International Paper in 1996 and produced 250,000 tonnes of paper every year.

When it launched the consultation last year, the company said the mill was expensive to run and faced increasing financial pressures due to an oversupplied market for its product in Europe.

Today mill manager Chris Melia said: "We are saddened to bring papermaking to an end in Inverurie but ultimately we have acted to match machine capacity worldwide to the paper volumes demanded by our customers.

"Our focus now is on helping our people make the transition into new employment and to continue our efforts, working with government agencies and others, to market the site for future re-industrialisation."

Mr Salmond said: "This is a big blow to the workforce and the community - 371 skilled jobs is an enormous number in a community of this size.

"When the decision was first announced last October that there was to be a 90-day consultation period starting in November we were hopeful that another paper maker could be identified to take over production.

"However, despite the best efforts of Scottish Enterprise, that has not proved possible in the prevailing economic recession."

Mr Salmond added that the Government will offer advice and re-training to workers and that he will meet the mill's shop stewards for talks in Inverurie today.

Liberal Democrat Aberdeenshire MSP Alison McInnes said: "This is very disappointing. It will be a hammer blow to hundreds of local families who have worked at the mill for many years.

"We now need to rally around the employees to support them. The company needs to go the extra mile to help its loyal employees find new work."

Nanette Milne, Conservative MSP for the north east of Scotland, said it was "a drastic blow to Inverurie and the north east economy".