SASKATOON, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - Despite an attempt through mediation to reach
an agreement, talks between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Potash
Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) have broken down and members of USW 189,
7458 and 7689 will take strike action immediately at three PCS mine sites -
Cory, Allan and Patience Lake.
"The company simply refuses to move away from the offer that our members
soundly rejected," said USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. "The company
is making enormous profits, and it is time to reflect those profits with fair
wages, pensions and benefits. In other words, share the wealth. The union has
put all available resources towards finding a way to achieve a fair deal for
our members. The company is refusing to see workers as partners in its
success. It seems that PCS would rather work against us instead of with us to
chart a way forward."
Hunt said the union prepared a counter offer to the company that includes
a commodities-based bonus similar to others in the mining industry, along with
increased wages, benefits, pension and savings plan. In an attempt to avoid
strike action, Hunt and the USW bargaining committee met Thursday with PCS
Potash President Garth Moore.
"Unfortunately, this company has no intention of working with us to
resolve the dispute," said Hunt.
The three USW locals represent a total of about 500 workers. Record
potash prices resulted in second-quarter figures that are 62 per cent higher
than first-quarter earnings of $566-million, the previous earnings record for
the company. The new record is $905-million. Added together, in the first six
months of 2008 PCS collected an after-tax profit of $1.5-billion, about
$300,000 per employee.
Although PCS is receiving far more profit per worker than most mining
companies, it pays wages lower than many other major Canadian mining
operations. Meanwhile, PCS CEO Bill Doyle is perhaps the most
highly-compensated Canadian corporate executive. A Globe and Mail report in
May revealed that Doyle's stock options are now worth more than $600-million,
a value never seen before for an executive at a public company in Canada.
Canada's most diverse union, the USW represents more than 280,000 men and
women working in every sector of the economy.
For further information:
For further information: Lee Edwards (USW Representative), (306)