TORONTO, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW) National Director Ken
Neumann says the layoffs at Xstrata Nickel violate a commitment made by the
Swiss company to not layoff operating staff for three years following its 2006
purchase of Falconbridge.
"Two and a half years later Xstrata is closing operating facilities and
laying off several hundred employees, including of our members," Neumann said
in a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement. "If guaranteeing no layoffs was
a condition of the Investment Canada approval of the purchase, why is Xstrata
now allowed to avoid that obligation?"
Neumann said the union is concerned not only with the effectiveness of
the Investment Canada Act itself, but more specifically about the
enforceability of commitments also made by Brazilian-owned CVRD (now
Vale-Inco), which purchased Inco also in 2006.
"We believe Vale may be watching Xstrata. We want Vale to live up to its
commitments to avoid layoffs and would like Investment Canada to monitor the
situation," he said, adding that for most of the last two and a half years
nickel prices were very high and both Xstrata and Vale-Inco made a lot of
money for their parent companies. The price of nickel has recently fallen, but
surely Xstrata was aware of that market risk when it decided to purchase
"As we said back in 2006, Canadians have a right to the assurance that
when foreign companies purchase Canadian companies, there will be a benefit.
Investment Canada must enforce its own conditions for foreign ownership."
The USW represents 250,000 men and women working in every sector of
Canada's economy. Contract negotiations with Vale-Inco are expected later this
For further information:
For further information: Peter Birt, (416) 544-5966; Pat Van Horne,
(416) 544-5990, (416) 347-0217, (USW Communications); John Fera, (President,
USW Local 6500), (705) 675-3381 ext. 232