Workers at Goderich salt mine accept deal to end 12-week strike

More than 350 unionized workers voted Monday to accept the tentative deal reached with the mine owner, Compass Minerals. They will return to work Wednesday morning.

Workers with Unifor Local 16-0 had been on strike since April 27

The Goderich salt mine, seen here from a park overlooking Lake Huron, is the world's largest. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The 12-week strike at the salt mine in Goderich, Ontario is over. 

Workers voted Monday to accept a three-year deal reached between Unifor Local 16-O and the mine owner, Compass Minerals.

The salt mine, the world's largest, employs more than 350 unionized workers. They had been on strike since April 27. One of the key issues had been the employer's use of overtime.

"We are very pleased that our employees have ratified this agreement," said senior vice president Anthony Sepich in a statement. "We look forward to our employees getting back to work and continuing to meet the salt needs of our customers."

The unionized workers will return to the mine on Wednesday morning.

"We want to thank the people of Goderich and all the union members who stood with us on this picket line," said Local 16-O president Gary Lynch in a statement from Unifor. "Most of all I want to thank our members and their families who stood strong with our bargaining committee through 12 long weeks."

In recent weeks, the labour showdown became increasingly bitter.

Miners had blocked the entrance to the site to disrupt the flow of replacement workers. A court injunction forced them to remove the barricade. However, local area farmers brought in tractors and continued to block the site. 

Unionized workers rally along a narrow stretch of road leading to the Goderich salt mine on July 10. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The union says the three-year deal includes a 2.5 per cent wage increase this year and next, and a three per cent increase in 2020, and maintains previous pension and benefits.