SASKATOON, July 25 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW) Western Canada
Director Stephen Hunt said Friday that second-quarter earning results released
Thursday by Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) should mean that the
company will come back to the bargaining table and negotiate with members of
USW Locals 7458, 189 and 7689, who are now in a legal strike position.
"Why would PCS want to put such phenomenal results in jeopardy by forcing
our members into a strike or a lockout? It doesn't make sense," said Hunt.
"Our members don't want a strike. What they want is a fair share of the
success they helped to build. PCS CEO Bill Doyle doesn't dig the potash out of
the ground. Our members do that for him and he should be thanking them by
negotiating a truly decent contract."
As of Friday afternoon, no action had been taken at any of the three mine
sites - Allan, Cory and Patience Lake. Monday's vote was a rejection of a
company offer that does not address key issues, including control over
contracting out, pensions, wages, vacation and bonus.
The three locals, representing a total of about 500 workers, are working
in coordination to achieve a fair settlement during a period of skyrocketing
demand for potash. Record potash prices have 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, which is $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
The union has met with PCS about 40 times since April, when the previous
Hunt said Doyle's comments during a conference call reporting Q2 results
are not helpful. Doyle claimed the rejected offer is a "great deal" that
workers need to accept with no further discussion.
"It isn't the union that is forcing this issue," said Hunt. "If Doyle
thinks our members can't think for themselves, then he should accept an
invitation to come and face them in a membership meeting to justify why the
company is refusing to negotiate further."
Hunt noted that Doyle is perhaps the most highly-compensated Canadian
"The Globe and Mail reported in May that Doyle's stock options are now
worth almost $600-million, 'a value never seen before for an executive at a
public company in Canada... Mr. Doyle's options - rights to buy stock at a
predetermined price - now dwarf those held by any other executive in
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: Stephen Hunt, (604) 683-1117, (604) 816-2554;
Lee Edwards, (USW Staff Representative), (306) 382-2122