Sudbury

USW on expected Vale layoffs: 'They're looking for efficiencies. Manpower is one.'

Myles Sullivan, the area coordinator for the USW in northeastern Ontario, is cautioning members of the union to stay focused on safety while at work.

Union representative Myles Sullivan hoping members stay focused at work

Myles Sullivan, coordinator for the northeastern Ontario network of Steelworkers, says word of potential layoffs at Sudbury mining operations has him concerned for his members. (Casey Stranges CBC)

Myles Sullivan, the area coordinator for the USW in northeastern Ontario, is cautioning members of the union to stay focused on safety while at work.

Not an easy task, when many of Vale's workers have questions after the mining giant released a company-only video that suggested impending layoffs for staff.

"It's a very concerning video, outlining the financial situation of the company," Sullivan said.  "There's a good future [in Sudbury,] a lot of reserves, but the mines need to produce profits."

Sullivan said the company hasn't made any final decisions on layoffs, but with new CEO Fabio Schvartsman at the helm of the company since May, all cards are on the table.

"They didn't say a number, but a global company like Vale they'll invest where they have the best returns," Sullivan said.

"They're looking at efficiencies. Of course manpower is one."

Vale closed down its Stobie Mine operations in May, affecting 300 workers.

Layoffs at Stobie

In May, Vale announced it was closing Stobie Mine. 300 workers were affected, with USW members being absorbed into other operations.

Sullivan said the company didn't give a deadline on their decision. He's hoping there's still time for a little tweaking that could save some jobs.

"I'm concerned," Sullivan said. "I feel for the workers, the members."

Vale has declined an interview with CBC News since the focus on communications is "very much internal to our workforce," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

Sullivan said he'll keep looking after members, and urges them to focus on safety, and focus on the job at hand.

"But it's hard to go to work everyday when there' questions about layoffs," he said.

Listen to the interview with Myles Sullivan here.

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