MONTREAL, March 2, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The USW/Syndicat des Métallos was astonished to learn of recent statements made by Clément Gignac, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Northern Plan, while the Alma aluminum works lockout continues. He used no judgment and simply repeated, in large part, the company's views.
"The Minister was expected to show a little more discretion and respect for the industrial relations process. Without making any effort to determine the ins and outs of the lockout, this Minister repeats the company's stance word for word, along with its smear campaign against this union's strategy. If he wants to get involved in this affair, we invite him to meet with us to discuss the issues calmly, beyond the reach of the company's propaganda. Turning the parties against each other does not show the Minister as playing a positive role that favours a settlement," emphasized Daniel Roy, Quebec director of the USW/Métallos.
"With the government already financing the lockout to the tune of millions by purchasing RTA's electricity when Hydro-Québec doesn't even need it, the least the Minister can do is take care not to tilt the scales any further in the company's favour," continued Daniel Roy.
In his statements, the Minister of Natural Resources sang the praises of sub-contracting, the core issue in the dispute. He spoke highly of sub-contracting in the aeronautics industry, particularly of the synergy between landing gear manufacturer Héroux-Devtek and Bombardier. "The Minister is comparing apples and oranges! The issue at RTA is not having separate components manufactured by a sub-contractor, but having the company's workers and sub-contractors doing the same job, side by side, but with one group being paid half as much as the other. It's an orphan clause in disguised form, implemented in order that new employees are paid at a lower cost. RTA is trying, in a roundabout way, to do what the government forbade in 1999," explained Daniel Roy.
The 780 workers at the RTA aluminum works in Alma have been locked out since December 30 last year. The USW/Syndicat des Métallos, an FTQ affiliate, is Quebec's largest private-sector union. Its members - numbering more than 60,000 - work in all sectors of the economy (mines, metallurgy, the wood industry, industrial manufacturing, security, the hotel and restaurant business, trucking, taxis, etc.).
USW/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ)
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Clairandrée Cauchy 514 774-4001, email@example.com