March 22, 2017 / 7:23 PM / a year ago

No talks planned to end 5-1/2-week Quebec zinc plant strike -union

March 22 (Reuters) - No meetings are planned between management and striking workers at Noranda Income Fund’s zinc refinery in Quebec, the second biggest in North America, a union official said on Wednesday, as the work stoppage dragged through a sixth week.

The two sides last met, along with a mediator, on March 3 but failed to break an impasse over proposed changes to the workers’ pension plan in a new contract, said Manon Castonguay, the president of United Steelworkers of America Local 6486.

A Quebec provincial court judge denied the union’s March 15 request for an emergency injunction to halt the limited production taking place at the plant, Castonguay said.

Plant management representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

The strike, which began Feb. 12, is being closely watched by traders as prices for zinc, a metal used for galvanizing iron or steel, continue to rise after surging 60 percent last year on supply concerns.

The union has accused NIF, in which global mining giant and trader Glencore Plc has a 25 percent stake, of using strikebreakers to operate the plant.

NIF has insisted it is using “eligible” staff like managers. It has declined to say how much the plant is producing, but the union, which represents 371 workers, has said it is likely below 25 percent of normal capacity.

The Quebec judge had denied the injunction request on grounds it was not an emergency, Castonguay said, adding that the union is proceeding with its legal action and that a court date was set for May. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Paul Simao)

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