North

Agreement between Dominion Diamond, Ekati union saves 150 jobs

In May, the Union of Northern Workers sounded the alarm after Dominion informed union leaders the 150 positions would be contracted out in October, unless an agreement was reached.

Union bargaining unit votes to ratify agreement, which also addresses ‘several ongoing concerns’ at Ekati

Ekati mine is located about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. Many of the 150 jobs previously marked for possible layoffs are held by Northerners. (Dominion Diamond Corporation)

Dominion Diamond Mines and the Union of Northern Workers have ratified an agreement that will save about 150 jobs at the Ekati diamond mine from being contracted out.

According to a joint news release from the union and Dominion, the agreement will also address "several ongoing concerns" at the Ekati mine.

"Our preference in this situation was to be able to come to an agreement with the union," said Dominion chief executive officer Patrick Evans in the news release.

In May, the Union of Northern Workers sounded the alarm after Dominion informed union leaders the 150 positions could be contracted out in October, unless an agreement was reached. Dominion cited "excessive levels of absenteeism" in the dispute.

Grievances filed

Many of those positions are held by Indigenous northerners. Tlicho chiefs met with Ekati management and workers at the mine during the dispute.

The union also filed a grievance with the employer and an unfair labour practice complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Labour Board.

On June 26, the union announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the employer, and members of the bargaining unit at Ekati voted this week.

"This new agreement provides job security for our members at the Ekati mine for years to come," said Union of Northern workers president Todd Parsons in the statement.  

The new agreement takes effect immediately.

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