200 workers laid off

Logging trucks at Wairiki in Bua. Picture: FILE

ABOUT 200 sawmill workers have been sent home as wet weather hampered logging operations in the Northern Division.

Two sawmill companies in Labasa reported reducing operation costs by 50 per cent as logging ceased because of relentless wet weather.

Valebasoga Tropik Board spokesman Serupepeli Vueta said they have had to lay workers off because of logging issues.

“This happens every year during wet weather and our logging is affected as we are bound by a code that disallows logging during wet weather,” he said. “So when this happens, we can’t process timber in our mill and work is affected.

“That is why we have sent the workers home and they will return once the weather improves.”

Weather patterns have changed over the past year, Mr Vueta said.

“It seems to be getting worse and rain falls during the dry season and it is continuous which affects our logging operations.”

The owners of Waiqele Sawmill said as many as 125 workers have been sent home.

Feroz Begg said workers had been at home for about a month.

“The wet weather has not helped at all and we have had to reduce our operation by 50 per cent during this time,” he said.

“Apart from the wet weather condition which affects logging operation, there are many other contributing factors.

“But when the weather improves, then we should pick up operation.”

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