ABI aluminum smelter to reopen as workers accept offer 18 months after lockout


Employees of the ABI aluminum smelter in Becancour, Que., who have been locked out for nearly 18 months, have accepted the company's latest offer.

Meeting in Trois-Rivieres, Que., workers voted 79.8 per cent in favour of the proposal.

The offers to the three unions representing office, lab, technical, operations and maintenance workers will see the smelter's activities resume July 26 with about 85% of the unionized employees expected to return to work within six months.

The company insisted that failure to accept the final offers would have resulted in the closure of the remaining production pots.

United Steelworkers Local 9700 president Clement Masse resigned after workers didn't follow his recommendation to reject the offers for six-year contracts that include salary increases of 15.3%.

Management said there would be no layoffs among the 926 active workers. The final offers included a reduction in the use of subcontracting and a larger employer contribution to the pension plan.