Rotating strike slows work at Potash Corp mine

Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:43pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Unionized workers seeking a richer contract from Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO picketed outside the fertilizer giant's Cory mine on Monday as part of a rotating strike, slowing operations there, company and union officials said.

The company had begun work to restart production at the mine on Sunday after an annual, scheduled two-week maintenance break, but the picket line slowed that down on Monday, said company spokesman Bill Johnson.

"It's my understanding that the mine is not operating today," Johnson said.

Later, Johnson clarified that the picketing had not completely halted work at the mine. "It certainly hasn't stopped operations altogether, but it's significantly slowed them down today," Johnson said.

The picket line will remain for 24 hours as the union works to pressure the company, which has said it has made its final offer, to resume talks, union negotiator Lee Edwards said.

"It will be business as usual tomorrow" (Tuesday) at the mine, which is just southwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Edwards said.

"Our issue is not to stop production at this point. Our goal is to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement," she said.

Managers and some contract workers were on the job on Monday, Edwards said, but Steelworkers and some contractors from other unions were staying out.   Continued...