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From: <>
Date: Friday, December 10, 1999 10:26 AM


No. 73/1999

10 December 1999

The following is from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and
General Workers' Unions (ICEM):


Settlement has been reached in a Canadian mining dispute that had cut world nickel supplies.

Members of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) in Thompson, Manitoba, yesterday voted to accept a new agreement with Inco. The vote - 66 percent in favour - ends Inco's 12-week lockout of 1,100 employees at its Thompson nickel mine.

The three-year agreement, which will run till Sept. 15, 2002, is a victory for the union in that it addresses the wage and pension issues that Inco had refused to negotiate when negotiations broke down in September. The agreement maintains the pattern of increases established among USWA members in other Inco Canadian operations.

The settlement includes wage increases of over 5 per cent, and 13 per cent in pension improvements. Along with an immediate signing bonus of 1,000 Canadian dollars, wage increases over three years will bring the average wage up to 24.48 Canadian dollars an hour by the end of the contract, up from 23.31 dollars.

Pensions will increase so that the minimum monthly benefit for a retiree with 30 years of service will be 2,675 dollars by the end of the contract.

A negotiated Success Sharing Plan will divide the positive results of a co-design programme aimed at improving efficiencies in the operation. That plan, along with a Savings Fund Plan and the maintaining of the Nickel Price Bonus, could mean a payout over the life of the agreement of as much as 9,000 dollars per employee.

"The support of the membership for this agreement is proof of the workers' resolve to settle this dispute on their terms," said Bob Desjarlais, President of the union's local in Thompson. "We are equally determined to work with the company in a way that will maximise the potential benefit to our members during the next three years."

Lawrence McBrearty, the USWA's National Director in Canada, added that maintaining the pattern of bargaining with Inco in Manitoba "is an important building block in upcoming negotiations with Inco in Ontario."

At McBrearty's request, the USWA campaign for a just settlement at Inco had been supported by the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), to which the USWA is affiliated.



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Editor: Ian Graham, Information Officer

Publisher: Fred Higgs, General Secretary.



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