Union optimistic after meeting with Glencore officials in Switzerland

The union representing striking workers at the Brunswick Smelter in Belledune is feeling optimistic after members met with Glencore(world) officials in Switzerland last week.

United Steelworkers Union Local 7085 president Bart Dempsey says some of his members were given the opportunity to voice health-and-safety concerns to company officials following Glencore's(world) annual general meeting last Thursday.

He says Glencore's(world) knew about some of the issues going on at its Belledune facility but was unaware of others.

Dempsey says the company was receptive and that it would be looking into the union's concerns 'very diligently'.

He says union members will be briefed on the meeting at the Belledune Rec. Centre on Thursday.

The workers have been without a contract since February and have been marching the picket line for three weeks now.

Dempsey says Glencore(local) is demanding more concessions from workers on several key issues including pensions, benefits, safety representation, and the union's ability to represent them.

He says the union is still ready and willing to return to talks, provided Glencore(local) remove concessions from the negotiating table.