MONTREAL, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Unionists from around the world will gather in Alma from March 30 to April 1, to express their support for locked-out Rio Tinto Alcan workers who are fighting to preserve decent jobs. The streets of Alma will be the site of a large demonstration on March 31, during which both international and Quebec-based union leaders will speak. The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), and the International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF) will also hold a joint meeting in Alma starting March 30.
"Support has been expressed by many unions all over the globe. Attacks against jobs and workers are multiplying. A key issue to be discussed during the gathering in Alma will be strategies for standing together and responding to the multinationals, which are impoverishing entire regions to benefit their shareholders in the short term," declared Ken Neumann, National Director for the United Steelworkers in Canada.
Ordinary citizens, families of locked-out workers, USW members and workers from all over, of every union allegiance, are called upon to join a demonstration in the streets of Alma on March 31. Also participating will be union leaders from various countries, including ICEM and IMF spokespersons who represent 45 million workers worldwide.
"RTA's actions in continuing to lock its workers out are an affront to all families in the region. This multinational will find out that in Quebec, people who stand up no matter what are respected! Since December 30, these workers have been fighting peacefully for the future of jobs in the region. The wave of solidarity toward them can only grow bigger!" added Daniel Roy, USW/Syndicat des Métallos Quebec Director.
A worldwide tour
This wave of global solidarity is already having an impact. Next Monday, Marc Maltais, the head of Local 9490, which represents the locked out workers, along with Guy Farrell, Assistant to the Quebec USW/Syndicat des Métallos Director, will fly to the United States and onward to Australia.
Marc Maltais and Guy Farrell will first meet with union leaders at the Rio Tinto mine in Boron, who went through a five-month lockout last year. "The workers in Boron fought against labour casualization in an exemplary fashion, which could undoubtedly be a source of inspiration for us," opines Guy Farrell, who will meet with unionists from the American mining industry during his trip to the U.S. West Coast.
The delegation will then fly on to Australia and then New Zealand, where they will meet with unionists and explain the issues surrounding the lockout in Quebec.
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