Opal Australian Paper rolls out initiatives to provide certainty for staff

Opal Australian Paper has set out several initiatives to provide its team members with some aid following the uncertainty resulting from its Maryvale Mill white paper production impact at the end of last year.

Opal said it has been engaging in active discussions with the Victorian Government and union representatives about this situation and has reached an agreement with the Victorian Government ensuring that until mid-February, Opal team members who may be stood down will receive full pay.

“This is intended to provide certainty for Opal team members while the company and the Victorian Government progress discussions on any further support for the Mill’s future operations,” the company said in a statement.

In addition to Opal’s own Employee Assistance Program and other support services, a new Worker Support Service has been established by the Victorian Government to support Opal Australian Paper staff affected by potential stand downs and operational changes.

“[This] may be required as a consequence of a possible future scaling down of white side manufacturing, one scenario currently being considered,” the company said.

Opal Australian Paper has been working to address the current shortfall in VicForests supply.

It mentioned that to be viable, the alternative supplies must match a range of strict criteria including species, availability, volume, cost, logistics and long-term supply.

However, it added that to date, the company has been unable to identify viable alternative sources of wood and as a result, white paper production on the M5 machine at Maryvale was impacted from December last year.

“Opal continues to consider a number of different operational scenarios for the longer term, in case possible alternative wood sources are below the volumes required or are not commercially feasible,” it said.

“This is a complex situation and no longer-term decisions on operational changes have been made at this stage.

“While the current situation is difficult for everyone, Opal remains committed to keeping our team members, customers and key stakeholders updated on further developments. We are continuing to work diligently with a view to providing clarity for our team members as soon as practicable.”

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