Flin Flon mine-worker strike continues, traffic slowdowns end

Negotiations have come to a standstill between the IAMAW Local Lodge 1848 and Hudbay Minerals in Flin Flon, Man. but traffic slowdowns caused by the picketers have ended.

96% of workers at union meeting vote to reject Hudbay Mineral's original offer

A jumbo drill bores through rock at Hudbay's 777 mine in Flin Flon, Man. (Hudbay Minerals)

Negotiations have come to a standstill between the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1848 and Hudbay Minerals in Flin Flon, Man., but traffic slowdowns caused by the picketers have ended. 

About 200 heavy duty mechanics, industrial mechanics, pipe fitters, tire technicians, oilers and machinists, members of the IAMAW 1848 union, have been picketing at the copper and zinc mine in Flin Flon since April 20.

Rene Beauchamp, the union's president, told CBC's Radio Noon that even though the traffic blocks have ended, they're still counting on Hudbay to come back to the negotiating table and "their phone line are open."

On April 20, 96 per cent of the workers present at the union meeting voted to reject an offer from Hudbay that offered a wage increase of 10.9 per cent for certified mechanics, pipefitters and machinists, a 10 per cent increase to pension, and requested no language concessions. Hudbay also offered increases to benefits such as vision and paramedical.

"Ten per cent of nothing is nothing," Beauchamp said Tuesday, explaining that other workers in Manitoba are have wages roughly $8 per hour higher than the workers he's representing. 

"This company can definitely afford to pay," he added. 

Hudbay and the union confirm there are no negotiations scheduled for the time being. 

"Our employees have been very patient in the last week as we worked through the delays in getting everyone to work. Together, the management team and employees were able to keep our operations safe and productive," Hudbay representative Scott Brubacher told CBC in an email. 

"All of our unions were given our financial plans for 2015 to allow all negotiating teams an understanding of the business. We presented all unions with a framework for a fair and negotiated deal that was focused on maintaining CBA language, enhancing wages, enhancing pensions and enhancing benefits for our employees," Brubacher said.

The steelworkers are expected to vote for or against strike action on May 19.​


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