First collective agreement for ALS Canada in Val d'Or - A huge step forward

    ROUYN-NORANDA, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The 70 steelworkers at ALS Canada
in Val d'Or have ratified their first collective agreement. "We started from
scratch. We had a lot to do, because there was no compliance at this company,
not even minimum labour standards. Some older workers were paid less than
younger workers. There were also health and safety issues, including an
environment containing lead where pregnant women were working!" declared
Gaétan Lyrette, Staff Representative of the United Steelworkers (FTQ).
    Negotiations on clauses with non-monetary impact were especially
important for this first collective agreement. For example, a joint health and
safety committee was formed with decision-making powers, in particular with
respect to equipment. "That's an important gain, as you have to understand
that these workers are not in the priority sectors specified in the
legislation. This prevents them from benefiting from things like a prevention
officer," Mr. Lyrette continued.
    Another clause that was negotiated calls for seniority to be respected,
in particular during layoffs. A training clause was introduced. The workers
will be entitled to eleven statutory holidays and six sick days. There will
also be a contribution to the Solidarity Fund.
    Hourly wages range from $10.64 to $24.40. Increases will be between 3%
and 4.2% in the first year, between 3.6% and 6.3% in the second year and
between 4.4% and 8.2% in the third year. "There was a complicated compensation
system in five different departments. The adjustments were negotiated in such
a way as to gradually introduce greater pay equity," Gaétan Lyrette explained.
    The agreement was accepted on June 11 by a vote of 74%. ALS Canada is a
very large company specializing in laboratory tests for the mining industry.

For further information:

For further information: Gaétan Lyrette, United Steelworkers (FTQ),
(819) 762-3001

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