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Steelworkers on strike in Labrador West

Steelworkers at IOC on picket line just after midnight Monday. The contract offer was rejected by 92 per cent.
Steelworkers at IOC on picket line just after midnight Monday. The contract offer was rejected by 92 per cent. - Submitted

92 per cent reject latest offer from IOC

The Steelworkers at the Iron ore Company of Canada have turned down the latest company offer by a huge margin. Local 5795, with close to 1300 members, voted 92 per cent to reject the last offer from IOC. A smaller union, local 6731 which represents about 30 warehouse workers rejected the offer at about 93 per cent.

Proposed changes to a temporary workforce, one of the main issues, did not go over well with union members.  Voting was held till midnight and after the vote was tallied, workers made their way to the picket line.

In a prepared statement from the company IOC president and chief executive officer Clayton Walker said “We have made every effort to reach a new collective agreement through weeks of negotiations and are very disappointed by this outcome.”

“We believe our offer was competitive and included improvements for employees across a range of areas from increased pay and pension contributions to health benefits and the use of temporary workers.

“Our focus now is on ensuring people remain safe and our assets are maintained. With this in mind, the site has been placed on care and maintenance, and staff will be undertaking essential duties.

“This strike will unfortunately not only affect IOC, it will have significant economic and social impacts for employees and the community.”

On Monday, prior to the end of the vote, a number of workers with a contracting company that does work at IOC spoke with the Aurora at the Wabush airport. They would only say they were leaving the area, due to the impending strike. They would not say which company they worked for.

IOC says it is open to continuing discussions to reach an agreement.

The last strike at IOC was in 2007, and lasted about seven weeks.

The Aurora will follow the latest developments on this story.

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