Aluminum giant set to report 2017 Q4 and year-end results
BÉCANCOUR, QC, Jan. 17, 2018 /CNW/ - With aluminum giant Alcoa set to report its 2017 fourth-quarter and year-end results, the United Steelworkers is appealing to shareholders to question the ramifications of the company's lockout of more than 1,000 Quebec employees.
"Shareholders must question the company's decisions to unilaterally pull the plug on collective bargaining that was in full swing, to impose a final offer and then to lock out employees," said Clément Masse, President of Steelworkers Local 9700, which represents 1,030 workers at the ABI smelter in Bécancour.
"Why provoke a labour dispute that in the end will have a pricetag that exceeds the costs of all union proposals made at the bargaining table? There is something fishy here. Investors should demand answers from Alcoa," Masse said.
Management at the ABI smelter, co-owned by Alcoa (74.9%) and Rio Tinto (25.1%), locked out employees without warning on Jan. 11, rejecting the union's offer to continue negotiations on a new collective agreement.
The Steelworkers union questions Alcoa's decisions given that rival Rio Tinto stands to benefit from the lockout through increases in aluminum prices and the Midwest Premium.
"Rio Tinto was part of the decision to lock out employees while at the same time it could see higher profits in its other aluminum plants. Will Alcoa actually emerge as a winner in this scenario? These kinds of questions must be asked," Masse said.
The lockout, combined with the shutdown of two potlines at the ABI smelter, will create costs for the company well in excess of the price of resolving contentious issues in the collective bargaining process, the union says. The key issues are related to pensions and seniority recognition for employee transfers and turnover.
The Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Clairandrée Cauchy, Syndicat des Métallos/USW Communications, 514-774-4001, [email protected]