Vale Gives Brazilians Increases but Demands Big Concessions from Canadians

Time for Mining Giant to Abandon Unwarranted Concession Demands in Canada

SUDBURY, ON, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers union congratulates mine workers in Brazil for negotiating collective agreements with Vale SA that provide significant improvements and avoid major concessions.

If Vale similarly abandoned unwarranted and mean-spirited demands for concessions in Canada, it could reach an agreement and bring an end to the four-month strike by 3,500 workers in Sudbury, Port Colborne and Voisey's Bay, the USW says.

"We understand our colleagues in Brazil achieved new contracts that provide for wage increases of 7% per year, over two years," said John Fera, President of USW Local 6500 in Sudbury.

"At the same time, the workers resisted any major concessions in their new agreements," Fera said.

"In Canada, Vale has decided to provoke a dispute and hold our communities hostage in the process," he added. "If and when Vale changes this unacceptable approach and drops demands for major, unnecessary concessions, this dispute will be resolved."

"Vale workers in Brazil also have an important ally in their government, particularly Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva," noted Ken Neumann, the USW's National Director for Canada.

Lula has been a strong and frequent critic of Vale, demanding the ultra-profitable company make greater investments in its Brazilian workforce and operations.

"There's little doubt the position taken by Brazil's president tempered Vale's anti-worker agenda and helped the Brazilian workers achieve wage gains and resist major concessions," Neumann said.

"Unfortunately, Canadians don't have the same kind of support from their government," he said.

"Rather than stand up for our working families, the Conservative government signs secret deals with foreign corporations. And in Vale's case, our Industry Minister praises the company for taking over Inco Ltd. - even after Vale attacked Canadian workers and provoked this strike.

"The time is overdue for our government to stand up for Canadians and demand that foreign takeovers of our industries and our resources provide greater benefits to our communities and working families."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: John Fera, President, USW Local 6500, (705) 675-3381; Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, (416) 487-1571; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, (416) 434-2221, (416) 544-5966, bgallagher@usw.ca


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