TORONTO, March 7 /CNW/ - Vale Inco expressed great disappointment today over a breakdown in mediated contract talks with the United Steelworkers (USW) Locals 6500 and 6200 representing production and maintenance employees at the company's operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne.
Employees at both locations have been on strike since July 13, 2009.
Intent on reaching a settlement, the company put forward a new five-year offer to settle the strike that was rejected by the USW. The offer - which maintains the essential business needs of a Defined Contribution pension plan for new employees, a revised bonus plan and production efficiencies - includes improvements to employee wages and the Defined Benefit pension plan, cost-of-living allowance roll-in, and changes to the threshold or trigger point for employee bonus payments. The company also tabled a special '$3000 Return to Production Bonus' that would reward employees for a successful resumption of operations.
"We are extremely disappointed and frustrated," said John Pollesel, Vice-President and General Manager for the Ontario Operations. "We tried hard to find common ground. We demonstrated significant flexibility to reach a new agreement to end the strike. Unfortunately, the USW position continues to offer little hope for a settlement. We want our people back working. We want our employees and our communities to be able to leave the hardship of this strike behind. We all want to return to our normal lives."
In failing to accept the new company offer to settle the strike, the USW is suggesting that the important issues in dispute be decided by a third party. This is a position the company cannot accept, said Pollesel. "The company has been consistent since negotiations began that change is essential to enable a long-term, sustainable future. We are not interested in having a third party make fundamental business decisions affecting the future viability of the business."
Vale Inco President and CEO, Tito Martins, said "I am saddened by this news. We have successful agreements with other unions around the world. It appears that the USW leadership has no interest in negotiating a contract that addresses what is required to create a long-term, sustainable future for our operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne."
No further talks are scheduled. For more information visit www.valeinconegotiations.com.
SOURCE VALE LIMITED
For further information: For further information: Cory McPhee, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Vale Inco Limited, (416) 361-7669, firstname.lastname@example.org