The Rio-Alcan Stalemate Finale
NEWS—ProspectingJournal.com—Approximately 780 Rio Tinto Alcan workers have finally ended their six month labour dispute in Alma, Quebec.
Thursday July 5th 2012 was a historic day for Rio workers. Between 82 to 92 % of workers were in favour of a new tentative deal between the union and the aluminum mining company.
The dispute erupted on Dec. 30 due to Rio’s mandate to replace retired workers with under-paid out-sourced ones. There was also speculation that Rio was selling its electricity to Hydro-Quebec.
This new deal promised a limitation to outsourcing cheap labour and additional employee benefits for the Quebec workers.
Rio did not condemn the Thursday night vote, but respected it on the negotiated grounds that practiced both company and employee interests. The negotiations were finalized on Sunday July 1st with the aide of the Ministry of Labour conciliator.
“This is excellent news for our employees, their families, the community, our customers and our shareholders,” said Etienne Jacques, CEO for the North American division of Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal. “The message to multinational corporations is clear: workers are more determined than ever to defend their rights.”
“We faced the third-largest mining company in the world and we won,” said Leo Gerad, the international president of the United Steelworkers.
The city of Alma had suffered economically throughout the six-month labour dispute. Approximately one-third of production at the smelter had been lost.
Both parties came out of the lockout on a positive note. This new deal favours everyone that is directly or indirectly connected to the aluminum smelter in Alma, Quebec.