Labour peace brewing at Highland Valley Copper
It appears there will be labour peace at the Highland Valley Copper mine, as a marathon bargaining session has resulted in a tentative new collective agreement for employees.
The union representing employees United Steelworkers Local 7619 and Teck Resources reached the deal in the early hours of Friday (Sept. 30) following after a 22-hour bargaining session.
The former collective agreement was set to run out at midnight.
Richard Boyce, president of United Steelworkers Local 7619, said the bargaining committee has recommended its members accept the package.
“We believe it’s a good deal,” he said. “It’s one worth considering.”
Boyce said the union would not be releasing any details of the agreement until members have a chance to see the proposed contract.
Employees are expected to vote on the deal on Oct. 12 and Oct. 16.
The union said the three main issues surround increased wages, pensions and benefits.
Earlier this week, 1,100 employees of the large mine near Logan Lake, voted 99.5 per cent in favour of striking.
Well-known mediator Vince Ready was then called in to help with negotiations.
Boyce said Ready played a key role in helping to reach a deal.
“Obviously, it was really important because until he [Ready] showed up, we didn’t have a deal,” he said.
The payroll for employees at Highland Valley is estimated to be $200 million annually.
On Sept. 22, Teck announced major upgrades to the the mine operation, which will include a $475-million mill-modernization project.
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