Striking workers, Goderich mine owners to resume talks

Talks between the union representing striking workers at the salt mine in Goderich and mine owner Compass Minerals will resume talks on Thursday.
Talks between striking workers and management at the Goderich salt mine will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. Workers have been on strike since April 27. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Talks between the union representing striking workers at the salt mine in Goderich, Ont., and mine owner Compass Minerals will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The news was announced in a joint news release issued by Compass and Unifor, which represents the workers.  

"Compass Minerals is committed to negotiating a collective agreement and getting our employees back to work with an agreement that focuses on the safety of our employees in the current operational environment," said Anthony Sepich, Compass's senior vice-president of salt. 

Picketing at the mine is still ongoing, the news release said.

About 350 workers at the mine have been on strike since April 27. 

The mine is the largest employer in Goderich, which has a population of about 8,000.

The strike has become increasingly divisive in recent weeks, with mine workers barricading the entrance with stacks of pallets before a court ordered the barrier to be taken down. 

Striking miners have expressed frustration at the use of replacement workers, which has allowed the mine to continue operations during the strike. 

The main issue in the labour dispute appears to be the scheduling of shifts and work conditions. The workers represented by Unifor Local 16-0 say the company wants to enforce mandatory overtime, longer shifts and remove some benefits. 

The company says they need flexibility in workers' shifts to modernize the mine's operations and keep it competitive. 

Located five kilometres from the shore and hundreds of metres below the surface of Lake Huron, the Goderich mine is the world's largest salt mine and a key source of de-icing salt to customers and cities across central North America.

More to come

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