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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Teck Cominco Ltd's smelter complex in Trail, British Columbia, have ratified a new four-year labour agreement, the sides said on Wednesday.
The contract, which will cover about 1,280 workers, includes a C$5,000 ($4,900) signing bonus and will increase wages 15 percent over the life of the contract. It also provides improved benefits, Teck and the United Steelworkers said.
The previous contract expired at the end of May, but there had been no move toward a work stoppage as the company and two union locals in Trail continued negotiations.
The smelter produced 291,900 tonnes of zinc last year, about 2 percent of global output, as well as 76,400 tonnes of lead, and 15,400 ounces of silver, along with some fertilizer and chemical byproducts.
The Trail operations contributed C$345 million to Teck's net profit in 2007.
The smelter's last labor contract, a three-year agreement, was not reached until after workers staged an 11-week strike in 2005.
"Teck Cominco seems more prepared to work with us in a more productive way ... our members and the community will benefit from that," union Local 9705 president Rick Georgetti said in a statement.
Reporting by Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson