Imperial Metals, United Steelworkers reach tentative deal to end Mount Polley strikeStriking Mount Polley workers to vote on tentative deal next week
Striking Mount Polley workers to vote on tentative deal next week
By Kevin Martine
July 25, 2018
Imperial Metals has negotiated a tentative deal to end a two-month strike at its Mount Polley mine in south-central British Columbia.
United Steelworkers (USW) announced in a statement Wednesday that negotiators for the Local 1-2017 unit, which represents Mount Polley workers, had reached an agreement with the company after a final round of bargaining this week.
Union members will vote on the agreement on July 31 and August 1.
“When the two groups are talking, obviously things happen, and then you build an agreement off that. So the fact that we did meet last week and we met this week, that’s what gets a deal done,” said Dan Will, a member of USW’s bargaining team.
Members from the unit have been working without a collective agreement since their contract expired at the end of 2017. There are roughly 200 unionized workers at Mount Polley, out of a workforce of around 300 people.
"Our members have stood strong and stood together in their desire to see a fair agreement," said USW staff representative Sean Ball in the release. "We're confident that we have found an agreement that resolves a number of our members' concerns and protects what they have fought for."
Mining operations have been suspended since the strike began on May 23, when Imperial Metals tried locking workers out for three hours to force an agreement.
Mount Polley’s mill has continued to operate as staff process low-grade stockpiles, but the strike has taken a toll on the mine’s production. Imperial reported in its second quarter results that Mount Polley’s copper production was down 31.8 per cent from Q2 2017, and its gold production had decreased by 34.7 per cent.