Russel says workers at B.C. plants ratify contract

Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:35pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Russel Metals said on Thursday unionized employees at five plants in British Colombia had ratified a five-year contract agreement.

The company, which distributes steel and tubular products for the energy industry, said the contract with the United Steelworkers union will extend to January 2014.

"We are pleased to have come to a positive conclusion in our discussions," said Russel Metals CEO Brian Hedges.

In October, unionized employees voted in favor of strike action to back their contract demands.

The union said the company was demanding too many concessions in negotiations, while the company said it had been hit hard by the economic downturn.

Last week, the Toronto-based company reported a 30 percent increase in third quarter profits.

Shares of Russel Metals closed up 1.98 percent at C$22.15 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon)