Strike ongoing since Feb. over working conditions, pension plan
After nearly eight months on the picket line, striking CEZinc employees have overwhelmingly rejected a "final" contract offer from the company.
"Eight months into the strike, Noranda Income Fund offered its employees more or less the same contract that provoked the strike in the first place," said Luc Julien, a staff representative with the United Steelworkers (USW), after union members voted Monday by a 97 per cent majority to reject the contract offer. "Our members have sent a clear message to the Fund's board of directors – its offer was unacceptable in February and it is no more acceptable after eight months on the picket line."
The zinc refinery — located west of Montreal in Valleyfield, Que. — is operated by Noranda Income Fund, and resource giant Glencore is the largest shareholder.
The 371 unionized workers at the CEZinc refinery have been on strike since Feb. 12 over working conditions and the pension plan. The company demanded pension concessions even though the plan is over-funded, said the union.
The USW is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing 60,000 workers.