Steelworkers on strike over basic rights at Iron Ore Company of Canada

    LABRADOR CITY, NL, March 13 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW)
Ontario/Atlantic Director Wayne Fraser said Tuesday that Iron Ore Company of
Canada (IOC) has unnecessarily forced a strike by members of USW Locals 5795
and 6731 over basic workers' rights.
    "The tipping point in this dispute included such fundamental issues as
seniority rights," said Fraser. "It's the kind of thing you would expect to
read in history books, not in a modern context of labour relations. It's all
about corporate control. Workers deserve to have their most basic rights
    Local 5795 President George Kean said IOC's final offer had moved off its
demand for concessions and the unfettered right to contract out any job
currently performed by union members, but was not enough to avert a strike by
the company's 1,000 employees, who are also seeking wage and benefit increases
in line with industry standards.
    "This fight is about recognizing the intrinsic value our members bring to
this operation," said Kean. "2006 broke all production records and our members
gave the company the biggest profit in its history."
    IOC is 59-per-cent-owned by Rio Tinto Ltd., an Australian-based mining
giant with a poor record on such issues as human rights and the environment.
    "Our members want to go back to work with a fair and decent contract,"
said Kean. "We are ready to get back to the bargaining table anytime.
    Kean added that a survey by the company of its employees over the last
year revealed that 87 per cent felt they were not treated with dignity and
    "It's time for IOC to listen to its own survey results and negotiate with
the union."

    The USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every
sector of Canada's economy.

For further information:

For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792; (416) 577-4045;
George Kean, (709) 944-5051, (709) 944-2255

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