Labrador West MHA Graham Letto working to improve labour relations at IOC

MHA Graham Letto, a former IOC employee himself, is working to improve labour relations between the company and the union following a number of suspensions.

'If we don't have IOC in Labrador West right now, we're in big trouble'

Labrador West MHA Graham Letto, an IOC employee for 30 years, has met with both the union and the company to improve labour relations. (CBC)

Labrador West MHA Graham Letto is working to improve labour relations between the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) and its workers in United Steelworkers Local 5795.

Letto says he has met separately with both the union and the company and he understands that times are tough financially, but a good relationship between IOC and its workers is important to the mine's success.

"There's a role there for both sides to play, and that's the role that I'm trying to forge ahead, to facilitate that role and to make sure this company survives," he said. 

"If we don't have IOC in Labrador West right now, we're in big trouble." 

Earlier this month, a worker told CBC News he was suspended for calling in sick over Christmas, adding he wasn't the only one.

Letto says the union has a number of issues they want addressed and feel that the company isn't communicating effectively. (CBC)

Letto, a former IOC employee for 30 years, said government can help both sides meet with the province's labour relations agency to settle issues on both sides.

"I see the labour relations agency as the tool here for us to get to that place where we need to go to have a better relationship with the workers," he said.

The union has already requested a meeting with the labour relations agency, and Letto said he expects a meeting within the next two to three weeks.

He also plans to meet with Minister Perry Trimper, who is responsible for labour relations.

The union has a number of issues it wants addressed, Letto said, including the suspension of workers who called in sick during Christmas.

"They feel that the company is pushing the envelope so to speak and bypassing some of the clauses in the collective agreement," he said. 

He said there are less than three years left in the collective agreement, and both sides have to respect the agreement, which was signed in good faith.

Letto said he is hopeful willing to work to accommodate both the company and the union.

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