Laid-off Quebec miners awarded $900,000 in back pay

Two-year dispute concluded after workers joined larger union
||Last Updated: 02/08/2012

Employees of a Quebec mine have been awarded $905,000 in back pay under an agreement reached between their union and the company.

141 employees were laid off by Century Mining in July 2008 when the Sigma-Lamaque mine in Val-d'Or, Que. was closed. The workers claimed to be owed pay in lieu of notice from the company, but their independent union had difficulty making progress with the Canadian-owned mining company.

In January 2010, the workers voted 98 per cent in favour of joining the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN). The workers credit their membership to the CSN with their ability to win the dispute.

The award covers unpaid wages and vacation pay for the group of workers, as well as wages for 45 employees who worked during the first three weeks of the plant closure.

Employees with less than 10 years of continuous service will be awarded seven weeks’ pay, while those with more than 10 years’ service will receive eight weeks’ pay.

Workers were previously awarded $140,000 plus interest in compensation in November 2011. This amount is in addition to the $905,000.

The Sigma-Lamaque mine resumed operations in 2010 with about 40 of the original workers returning to the mine. Any employees who did not return to the mine will be compensated according to the same scale. The mine currently employs 200 hourly workers.

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