ST. JOHN'S, NL, May 12 /CNW/ - A government-commissioned report
examining the 18-month labour dispute at Voisey's Bay is a vindication
for all workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Although we are disappointed that anti-scab legislation was not
included, the report is the first step in restoring fairness for
workers and their families in Newfoundland and Labrador," says Wayne
Fraser, Director of the United Steelworkers (USW) union in Atlantic
Canada and Ontario.
"The commission's report recognizes that existing law does not deal
adequately with collective bargaining problems created when powerful
multinational corporations are determined to defeat workers at the
bargaining table," adds USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann.
"If these recommendations had been in place prior to our negotiations
with Vale, we would not have had an 18-month strike and the economic
and social harm suffered by working families and their communities,"
The Voisey's Bay workers are represented by the USW. Their struggle for
a fair collective agreement included an 18-month strike against
Brazil-based Vale, which ended in late January of this year.
The Industrial Inquiry Commission recommends the provincial government
adopt new mechanisms to "take account of the need to ensure that
(multinational) corporations respond to Canadian labour relations
The commission also recommends mechanisms to deal with situations in
which collective bargaining is undermined by "the relative economic
weight" of one of the parties involved.
"In our view, these recommendations reflect Vale's management style and
its insistence on reducing the rights of workers in Canada to match its
labour relations standards elsewhere in the world," says Fraser.
The Steelworkers welcome the commission's other recommendations, which
call on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to:
- Recognize that mandatory labour-management committees should exist in
- Implement interest arbitration as an effective means to achieve a fair
- Ensure Vale and the USW work with aboriginal peoples to ensure all
participate and share in the benefits of the Voisey's Bay operations.
"We are pleased with the recommendation to work with the aboriginal
peoples - the USW has made efforts in this regard and we will continue
to do so," Fraser says.
"We are calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to do the
right thing and put these recommendations into law as quickly as
To view the Industrial Inquiry Commission's complete recommendations,
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-487-1571;
Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 416-577-4045.