HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NL, Jan. 11 /CNW/ - The Industrial Inquiry
Commission on the Voisey's Bay labour dispute is overwhelmingly damning
of Brazilian mining giant Vale.
If Vale does not accept the commission's recommendations to settle the
17-month strike, the Newfoundland and Labrador government must act
immediately in the best interests of our province's working families,
the United Steelworkers (USW) union says.
"The inquiry commission's report is unequivocal in its conclusions,"
says USW staff representative Boyd Bussey. "The report confirms that
the union made considerable efforts to reach a settlement, but those
efforts were not reciprocated by Vale."
The commission's report speaks for itself:
"(Vale's) approach seemed to send a clear message to the Union that Vale
did not view the Inquiry process as important or useful;"
"The Union made significant movement by not only formally dropping a
number of its outstanding issues but also by accepting the Employer's
position" on several issues;
"(Vale) has through the process of this Inquiry chosen not to alter its
position from that presented to the mediator and the Union on October
3, 2010, despite the fact that the Union made significant movement in
"It is apparent to the Commission that the Employer has an approach that
does not contemplate compromise on any basis that might be acceptable
to the Union;"
"…the response and reaction from (Vale) was in fact quite negative.
(Vale) maintains that it has a desire to conclude a collective
agreement, but its actions and reactions send the opposite message;"
"(Vale) apparently believes … that an employer should be allowed to
circumvent a union's right and obligation to bargain on behalf of its
membership … this behaviour demonstrates disrespect for the role of a
bargaining agent. It is not surprising that this has contributed to a
continued failure in these negotiations."
"Vale's arrogant dismissal of the value and importance of this process
cannot be tolerated by the people and the government of Newfoundland
and Labrador," Bussey says.
"The inquiry commission was given an important mandate by our government
and it fulfilled this mandate by recommending a fair and reasonable
settlement to end this 17-month dispute. The Steelworkers accept the
commission's report," he says.
"It is unacceptable for Vale to so arrogantly and cavalierly dismiss the
inquiry process and its recommendations, and to prolong this dispute.
"If Vale continues to reject such a settlement, our government must act
immediately to bring an end to the pain and suffering of so many
working families, First Nations and other communities in our province,"
The union is recommending that the striking workers, members of USW
Local 9508, support the settlement package proposed by the inquiry
commission. Union members are voting on the proposal this week, with
results expected Wednesday.
At this point, Vale has rejected the proposed settlement. Vale also has
rejected the commission's recommendation for a binding, third-party
settlement, even though the commission has concluded that "there is
minimal risk" to either party in accepting such a resolution.
"Vale has shown it is not interested in compromise," Bussey says. "This
is a foreign corporation that is accustomed to holding an incredible
imbalance of power over its workers and it is prepared to use scab
labour and abuse its massive wealth to get what it wants."
To view the inquiry commission's entire report, visit http://www.usw.ca/media/news/releases?id=0599.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Boyd Bussey, USW, 709-727-8632, email@example.com; /
Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 416-577-4045 /