After the vote, the united Steelworkers, the aluminum smelter ABI assessing their options

Après le vote, les Métallos de l’aluminerie ABI évaluent leurs options

Photo: Ryan Remiorz, The canadian Press
General meeting Monday, members rejected to 82%, the last offer employer’s ABI.

In the wake of the rejection of the offers of employers, the minister of Labour has expressed Tuesday his surprise at the outcome of the vote, while the Steelworkers union, for its part, reflected on the next steps.

The local chapter of the united Steelworkers, which represents 1030 workers locked out since January of 2018, is currently analyzing various options, including the ability to make a counter-offer ” in the coming days “, said in an interview its president, Clément Mass.

General meeting Monday, members rejected 82 % of the last offer in business, as described by the direction of the Bécancour Smelter (ABI) as ” fair and competitive “. Three different accreditations, trade union spoke at the meeting, marked by a participation rate of 90 %.

The company had unveiled last week some elements of its offer, including annual increases corresponding to a minimum average of 2.55 % in the six years it would have lasted in the collective agreement. At the heart of the dispute, according to the union, include issues such as the pension plan and the sub-contract.

“The management of ABI is disappointed, said Alcoa in a written statement Tuesday. The ratification of the offer would put an end to the conflict work with a plan to resume operations. “

According to the Steelworkers, however, the company proposed a protocol for return-to-work, which would be spread over ten months, an issue that has not been discussed at the bargaining table. After the strike of four and a half months in 2004, the protocol of return to work had taken only a month and a half.

“The will of the employer, here, is that we come back as late as possible, said Mr. Masse. In the protocol [subject to vote], he gave himself almost all of the rights, it was not even required of us to make our week full of work, he could use frames, sub-contractors, etc “

Reaction of the minister

“It’s still an interesting development “, said the minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, in an interview with RDI on Tuesday morning. “The company has submitted a bid which was presented in general assembly of employees. Of course, I was a little surprised by the decision as massive, but I take note of this decision in a process that is democratic. What I’m learning this morning is that the union is preparing a counter-proposal. “

The Steelworkers union recalled several times over the last few months that the lockout is considered a case of force majeure by the management of ABI. So, this has the effect of suspending the obligation of ABI to purchase electricity from Hydro-Quebec. The impact to the corporation was approximately $ 165 million in 2018, she said a few weeks ago.

The prime minister François Legault is not “can not, according to what the union is seeking to renegotiate the rates for electricity or renegotiate the contract then,” said Mr. Boulet. “[The prime minister] is aware of anything that I’ve done, of all that we do to help the parties, ” said minister Boulet. We are going to create the environment as positive as possible to allow the parties to comply with their clearly expressed desire to find a negotiated settlement by themselves. “

In addition, the Usw has requested that the minister refer the case for settlement, what I have readily accepted this morning “, said the minister RDI. He did not exclude, either, the possibility that the direction of ABI files a offers enhanced.