Union workers at Vale Inco's Sudbury mine to strike

Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:54pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Union workers at Vale Inco's Sudbury nickel mine in Canada rejected the company's final contract offer and will go on strike at midnight Sunday, the United Steelworkers union said on Saturday.

Negotiations between Vale Inco -- the nickel mining and processing division of Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce -- and its union broke down this week as the two sides failed to agree on bonuses, pensions and other issues.

Members of the USW's Local 6500 voted overwhelmingly to reject the company's contract offer and will go on a strike, as of midnight on Sunday. The Local represents about 3,300 workers at the site, which is one of the world's largest nickel mines.

"Our members have negotiated forward-looking and long-term contracts that have been positive for our members, the community and the company," Wayne Fraser a member of the union's bargaining committee, said in a statement. "It's just wrong that Vale is now trying to eliminate all that."

Eighty five percent of the miners who voted rejected the company's proposal, the union said.

"We find the results unfortunate and disappointing but not entirely surprising," said Vale Inco spokesman Cory McPhee, adding that there were no immediate plans to return to the bargaining table.

The union has urged the company to return for talks.

John Fera, president of Local 6500, said he was pleased that members supported the union's bargaining committee but disappointed that members were forced to take this action.   Continued...

<p>Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli casts a shadow on the wall near Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Hand (R) during a news conference in Toronto, October 25, 2006. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>