Global mining giant reaches a new low in labour relations at its Brunswick Smelter in New Brunswick.
BELLEDUNE, NB, April 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Glencore's Brunswick Smelter in Belledune, N.B., reached a new low in labour relations this week, terminating sick and injured employees and eliminating their crucial medical benefits, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
"Employees who have been receiving long-term disability and compensation benefits have received letters via Canada Post this week informing them that their employment with Glencore has been terminated," said Ray Godin, President of USW Local 7085, representing 300 workers at the Brunswick Smelter.
"According to Glencore, once the terminations take effect, these employees will no longer be covered by a supplementary health plan that was negotiated by the company and the union," Godin said.
"Some of these employees have serious illnesses that require treatment with expensive medication, and the company wants to eliminate their coverage."
Glencore also plans to eliminate the employees' dental coverage and their pension service credits, he added.
"Glencore attempted to cut benefits in our last round of collective bargaining, but was unsuccessful," Godin noted. "We believe this is an underhanded attempt by this global corporation to achieve its goal and drive down our standards closer to levels it imposes on workers in developing countries."
The USW, which is filing grievances to rescind the terminations, also is calling on the provincial and federal governments to demand that Glencore treat its employees fairly.
"Glencore is requesting provincial and federal funding to help rebuild the Belledune smelter," noted Marty Warren, the USW's Director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario.
"While our union supports this project, we believe our governments should demand that Glencore respects collective agreements and commits to higher labour relations standards," Warren said.
"This decision by Glencore to attack sick and injured employees is a clear demonstration of its ruthless approach to profit."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Marty Warren, USWW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792; Gary White, USW Staff Representative, (506) 546-8881, email@example.com; Ray Godin, USW Local 7085 President, 506-522-7085, Raymond.Godin@glencore-ca.com; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434 2221, firstname.lastname@example.org