Ipsco, union to resume contract talks Dec. 2

Steelmaker Ipsco (TSX:IPS)and 1,000 unionized workers have agreed to a mediator's request to resume contract talks, averting a strike that was set to begin on Thursday.

Mediator Vince Ready asked the parties to return to the bargaining table on Monday in order to make a last ditch effort to resolve their collective bargaining dispute.

Ready also declared a news blackout in the talks.

Contract negotiations between Ipsco and the union representing broke down late Tuesday.

The union said Ipsco had tabled a "take-it-or-leave-it" offer and threatened to lock workers out by Dec. 8. In early November, the workers gave union negotiators a strong mandate to strike if necessary.

The United Steelworkers of America said earlier this week that the 800 workers it represents in Regina have given 48-hour strike notice and are expected to walk off the job on Thursday. Another 200 workers were slated to walk off the job in Calgary on Friday.

The last contract the workers bargained expired July 31 and more than 35 bargaining sessions have been held since June. The two sides cannot agree on wages, pensions or job security.

Shares of Ipsco slipped 5 cents on the TSX on Thursday, closing at $14.90.