SUDBURY, ON, March 20 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) and unions
from six of the world's nations announced on Tuesday a new global union accord
designed to advance the interests of workers employed by the rapidly growing
Companhie Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD).
The Brazil-based CVRD purchased Inco in 2006.
The 'Sudbury Unity Accord' was developed by members of the United
Steelworkers from across Canada, along with union leaders from Brazil,
Mozambique and New Caledonia. As well, unions representing CVRD employees in
Norway and Australia have endorsed the accord.
The full text of the accord is available at www.usw.ca.
It forms the basis for a global union network and a united front in
dealing with CVRD, which continues to grow worldwide as a producer of nickel,
iron ore and coal.
"We are a global mining union," said USW International President Leo W.
Gerard. "So even though we recently bargained a pathbreaking collective
agreement here in Sudbury, when Inco was taken over by CVRD, we started to get
ready for the next round of bargaining in 2009. Today's accord is part of that
The USW represents about 5,000 employees of CVRD Inco across Canada.
"Building unity among workers across the global nickel industry is vital
as corporate consolidation puts control of nickel mining and processing in the
hands of a few, larger multinational companies," said Gerard.
"CVRD is based in our nation" said Joao Trevisam, General Secretary of
the Confederacao Nacional dos Trabalhadores no Setor Mineral (CNSTM), "We have
years of experience with this company but, by working together with the
Steelworkers and other unions around the globe, we can better defend our
members' interests and help workers elsewhere."
The Brazilian unionists at the Sudbury conference represent close to
25,000 CVRD workers in Brazil at the company's mines, rail operations, ports,
offices, chemical plants, energy operations and steel mills.
Jeremias Timana, President, SINTICIM (National Union of Construction,
Wood and Mines Workers of Mozambique), said, "Once the CVRD coal mine in
Mozambique is developed, it will be the largest in the southern hemisphere.
The Sudbury Unity Accord is about increasing communication and common action
among union members dealing with the same issues.
"It is about learning from and supporting each other. I am thrilled to be
here to sign the Accord. By helping to form this global union pact, we will
build a better future for Mozambique coal miners, their families and our
"CVRD Inco's nickel project in Goro has been the subject of much
controversy," added Didier Guenant-Jeason, USOENC (New Caledonia's Workers and
Employees Union; Union syndicale des ouvriers et employés de
Nouvelle-Calédonie). "Environmental risks, workers' rights and the impact on
indigenous populations in New Caledonia must be addressed firmly. This accord
will help us do that - and we know we can help workers in Canada, Brazil,
Mozambique and elsewhere as well."
The Sudbury Unity Accord sets out 5 common goals:
- Increasingly stronger collective agreements that bring high wages,
improved retirement incomes and benefits, safe workplaces and a
meaningful voice in the corporate decisions that affect workers'
- Capital expenditures by CVRD in our communities to support new
facilities, exploration, the highest environmental standards and new
- Safe and healthy workplaces for our members and environmentally
sustainable operations, which are healthy and safe for our families
- Respect for the human rights of communities affected by corporate
operations, and full recognition of the right for unions to represent
the collective interests of workers;
- Full access to information about corporate acquisitions, mergers or
other reorganizations that affect our members in any way;
- Elimination of corporate outsourcing/contracting out.
An annual work plan was set out that includes a gathering of even more
CVRD-linked unions in Brazil this fall.
For further information:
For further information: Brad James, USW, (416) 524-5118 (Cell); Pat Van
Horne, USW Communications, (416) 544-5990