Texada Island Steelworkers Ratify New Agreement, Lafarge Canada Must Work to Rebuild Trust After Lockout

TEXADA ISLAND, BC, March 10, 2017 /CNW/ - Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 816, locked out by Lafarge Canada at the Texada Island limestone mine since Oct. 17, 2016, have voted to ratify a new collective agreement with their employer. 

After previous demands by Lafarge to eliminate seniority rights were rejected by Steelworkers, the parties agreed to return to the bargaining table. As a result the USW secured an agreement with no concessions, maintained seniority rights and secured wage and benefit increases similar to other collective agreements in the sector.

Members voted to narrowly accept the agreement, 34 votes to 33 votes. The close vote is a reflection of the damage that Lafarge's unnecessary lockout has done to their employees and the larger Texada Island community.

"For decades USW members on Texada Island have taken great pride in their work and given 100 per cent. The actions of Lafarge management have shattered confidence in the company. Lafarge's mean-spirited and irrational lockout has done tremendous harm to their employees, their families and the entire Texada community," says Stephen Hunt, United Steelworkers Director for Western Canada.

"The ball is firmly in Lafarge's court. They have a big hill to climb and a lot to work to do if they wish to rebuild the trust and respect that people on Texada Island once had for them."

USW Local 816 thanks the many community members, other Steelworkers locals and unions in the region for their support as well as the important global solidarity from international labour federation IndustriALL and its allies.

Texada Island has a rich history of mining limestone dating back as early as 1918. The mine is the oldest active mine in the province and produces limestone used to make cement that is critical to many infrastructure projects.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Earl Graham, USW Staff Representative, 604-341-6381, egraham@usw.ca; Brad West, USW Communications, 604-313-9185, bwest@usw.ca

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