Union for 2,500 striking mining company workers reach terms on new collective agreement

Giant trucks carry iron ore from a ArcelorMittal site in Fermont, Que., in May 2011. (Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The union representing 2,500 striking workers at mining company ArcelorMittal have agreed on terms with their employers for a new collective agreement.

The company, based in Pont-Cartier-Fermont and Fire Lake held its last round of negotiations on Thursday with a mediator appointed by the Labour Minister.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Five locals from the United Steelworkers were involved in the negotiations and will vote on the agreement in the coming days. If approved, the new collective agreement would be in place for four years.

The points in dispute were salaries, pension plan, insurance, bonuses and a proposed schedule that saw employees working for 14 days, followed by 14 days of leave.

Labour Minister Jean Boulet welcomed the agreement on Twitter, saying “Reasonable negotiation is always the best solution.”

ArcelorMittal Mining Canada President and CEO Mapi Mobwano was present for the final rounds of talks.

“We are happy with the outcome, which is due to the efforts of both parties at the negotiating table and to the mediator's work,” he said in a statement. “We are hopeful we will turn the page on this conflict.”

Union representatitves said they would not comment until their members have voted.

The union first reached a tentative agreement in mid-April, but that was rejected by membership. The employer then upgraded their offer, but that was also rejected, followed by a strike on May 10.

The 2,500 union members are spread over five union locals working in two mines, a plant, railway, offices and security.  

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 5, 2021. 

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