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Several thousand forest workers from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union of Canada (CEP) took to the streets of downtown Ottawa on Tuesday at noon to shake up the federal government. A delegation from CUPE joined in to deliver a loud wake-up call to Stephen Harper.

The Harper government has been sleepwalking through a crisis that, over the past two years, has cost 55,000 jobs in the forest industry and devastated hundreds of communities.

“Workers and regions involved in forestry have sustained crisis after crisis, and still today, the Harper government is refusing to do a minimum. Countless communities, public services and the economy as a whole are affected.  It is time for Harper to wake up and grant loans to viable companies so they can survive the credit crunch and the recession. CUPE will extend its full support to CEP for as long as it takes,” said Claude Généreux, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer.

CEP is also demanding that workers’ pensions be protected through legislation that forces companies in bankruptcy protection to pay off workers’ pensions and wages as a priority.