nickel producer shuts down by unions

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    Falconbridge nickel workers on strike
    Last Updated Sun, 01 Feb 2004 13:42:37
    SUDBURY, ONT. - The picket lines are up at Canada's second-largest nickel producer after about 1,100 people went on strike in Sudbury, Ont.

    The Canadian Auto Workers walked off the job shortly after midnight Saturday after failed negotiations with Falconbridge Ltd.

    The company wants to use contract workers to staff some new mining ventures, but the union says it won't allow any concessions or losses of job security.

    The current collective agreement for the Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union Local 598 was won after a bitter seven-month strike more than three years ago.

    In a news release Sunday, the company said it would idle production at its mines and mill, as well as slow production at its Sudbury smelter.

    Local union president Rick Grylls says the union rejected the company offer presented on Thursday because it contained too many concessions, including reductions in health and pension benefits.

    "If they want to go from $300 million to $305 million in profits, they're not going to do that by taking it away in benefits," he said. "And we're not going to lose jobs so these guys can put some money in their pockets."
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