February 24, 2017 / 6:43 PM / 2 years ago

No end in sight to strike at Noranda zinc plant in Quebec

TORONTO (Reuters) - A strike at Noranda Income Fund’s (NIF_u.TO) zinc processing plant in Quebec stretched into a 13th day on Friday, with no talks scheduled between management and the United Steelworkers of America union.

Noranda’s zinc processing facility in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is the second-largest in North America and largest in eastern North America, where the bulk of zinc customers are located. It is managed by a subsidiary of Glencore Canada Corporation (GLEN.L).

The plant’s 371 unionized workers went on strike after the two sides could not agree on proposed changes to the pension plan in the collective agreement.

There have been no talks during the strike and none are currently scheduled, said Manon Castonguay, president of Steelworkers Local 6486.

It was unclear whether the strike has severely impacted production at the facility. The union said output was likely very low.

Noranda could not be immediately reached for comment. It had previously said it would provide a production update on March 1 when it releases its fourth-quarter results.

Zinc prices have nearly doubled since January 2016 due to a shortage tied to mine closures and shutdowns. The price of zinc CMZN3 was 1 percent higher at $2,817 a tonne on Friday.

The union said Noranda has failed to demonstrate that is experiencing any financial troubles and has refused to explore other cost-cutting measures.

Noranda said on Feb. 13 that the Fund would be paying market prices starting May 3, replacing the previous fixed rate, a change that will substantially impact its results.

Reporting by Solarina Ho and Susan Taylor; Editing by Paul Simao

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