Xstrata Deal Mandates Vale to Return to Negotiations

"Clearly, it is in the best interests of Vale Inco, the United Steelworkers and our community ... to resume good-faith negotiations," Mayor says

SUDBURY, ON, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - After nearly seven months of Vale holding working families and communities hostage, the Xstrata negotiated agreement demonstrates Vale should accept the time-tested Canadian tradition of good-faith negotiations with its employees.

At a news conference today, labour and community leaders reinforced calls for Vale to demonstrate goodwill and respect for Canadian traditions by finally agreeing to negotiate with its striking workers.

The collective agreement successfully negotiated by Xstrata Nickel and Mine Mill Local 598/CAW reconfirms Vale and the United Steelworkers must engage in meaningful negotiations of their own, said Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez.

"Mine Mill CAW and Xstrata have demonstrated that focusing on the negotiating table can produce results," Rodriguez said. "Clearly, it is in the best interests of Vale Inco, the United Steelworkers and our community, for the parties to resume good-faith negotiations to find solutions to the outstanding issues."

"The Xstrata/CAW negotiations succeeded because neither party attempted to impose ultimatums or pre-conditions on the other before agreeing to negotiate," said Richard Paquin, President of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW.

"Our negotiations were very difficult and intense and we faced virtually identical issues and concessions to those on the table in the Vale Inco strike. But we reached a settlement because we were both willing to sit down, negotiate and listen to each other's concerns, not dictate," Paquin said.

"There's no reason why a successful conclusion can't be reached with our members," said John Fera, USW Local 6500 President. "There is no reason Vale cannot make a similar offer to that of Xstrata.

"Hopefully, Vale will see this as an opportunity to restart meaningful negotiations. As we have said countless times, the Steelworkers are prepared to resume negotiations at a moment's notice, with absolutely no pre-conditions," Fera said.

"It is never too late for Vale to abandon its indefensible strategy," he said. "It is offensive to Canadians and to our traditions for a foreign corporation to provoke a labour dispute and refuse to negotiate a resolution for months, while relying on its enormous wealth to try to break the will of working families and their communities.

"Unfortunately, Vale believes it can act with impunity from our federal and provincial governments, which have shown a callous indifference to our working families and communities under economic attack by this foreign corporation."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: John Fera, USW Local 6500 President, (705) 675-3381; Myles Sullivan, USW Staff Rep, (705) 675-2461, x224; Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, (416) 544-5990, (705) 562-8588, dstpierre@usw.ca

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