TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Two United Steelworkers (USW) members from Canada met with a Vale customer in Sweden asking for support in a struggle to reach fair labour agreements covering some 3,500 miners as a shipment of Vale copper made its way from Germany to a Swedish port.
Curtis Saunders and Aaron Beaudry, both Steelworkers on strike at Vale in Canada, asked the customer, Boliden, to not purchase any copper concentrate from Vale until the strike at Vale's Canadian operations is over. The meeting was arranged by IF Metall, Sweden's largest private sector union. IF Metall represents the workers at the Boliden copper smelter in Ronnskarsverken that Vale supplies.
"As a worker representative on the Boliden board, I am angry to learn that Boliden's supplier Vale is using replacement workers during a strike," said Roland Antonsson, Boliden board member and IF Metall local president at Ronnskarsverken "Unless this changes immediately, I will use my position on the board to urge Boliden to reconsider its relationship with Vale."
The USW has been on strike for nearly three months in an increasingly bitter confrontation at Vale operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario and Voisey's Bay, Labrador.
"We are appalled to hear how Vale treats workers in Canada," stated IF Metall President Stefan Lofven. "IF Metall stands in full support of the United Steelworkers in its campaign for a fair labor agreement."
Saunders and Beaudry, accompanied by USW National Director Ken Neumann, joined union leaders from around the world last Saturday in a demonstration at the German port of Brunsbuttel as a ship arrived transporting 35,000 tons of Vale copper concentrate from Voisey's Bay. After meetings with a union that represents workers at a Vale customer in Germany, they went to Sweden in advance of the ship's arrival there.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to get a fair deal for our members in Canada and Vale employees in Brazil," said USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann. "We are receiving incredible support from unions all around the world and we will continue to take our case to Vale Customers wherever they are."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: For further information: Myles Sullivan, USW Local 6500 (Sudbury), (705) 675-2461 x224