Rio Tinto workers in British Columbia vote to strike if necessary

500 grievances outstanding for 900 workers: Union
||Last Updated: 07/19/2017
Labour relations
Rio Tinto smelter in Kitimat, B.C. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Members of Unifor Local 2301 in Kitimat, B.C., on July 14 voted 99.5 per cent in favour of a strike if a fair deal cannot be reached at the bargaining table before July 23.

"Rio Tinto has created a climate of extreme disrespect in the workplace, and it should be no surprise that these workers are fed up," said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. "Rio Tinto has work to do if it wants to reach a fair deal without disruption at the smelter."

Over the term of the last collective agreement Rio Tinto has pushed workers aggressively, including violating the collective agreement with mandatory overtime, failing to provide adequate washroom facilities and accruing over 500 outstanding grievances for a workplace of 900, according to the union.

Unifor Local 2301 said the current contract negotiations have been very difficult.

"If the company doesn't change its behaviour fast, there should be no doubt that our members are prepared to exercise their legal right to strike," said Sean O'Driscoll, Local 2301 president. 

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