Monday, July 26, 2021

Rio Tinto workers take to the picket lines in Kitimat, Kemano over weekend

BC Works at Kitimat, the giant aluminum plant is currently
behind at picket line as a labour dispute escalated to a strike situation.
(Photo from Rio Tinto website)

One of the largest employers in the Northwest, if not British Columbia, is facing a job action today, that after workers at Rio Tinto in Kitimat acted on their strike mandate over the weekend.

The labour dispute began following a 24 hour extension on Saturday to labour talks to allow for further bargaining; though the lack of movement on the key issues led the union to make the decision to take workers off the job at 12:01 AM on July 25th.

Members of Unifor Local 2301 outlined a range of concerns that led to the work action, including alleged violations of the existing contract using contractors and temporary employees, as well as a failure to address pension and retiree benefits.

The most recent correspondence between the Union and its membership can be reviewed here.

Past and future updates for the membership can be found from the Unifor archive page.

There are over 1,050 employees on the Rio Tinto payroll, over 900 of the workers are union members, the company contributed over 842 million dollars to the British Columbia economy in 2019.

Rio Tinto officials have not as of yet offered any further comment other than the smelter and powerhouse continue to operate, with staff and employees working under an essential services order granted by the B.C. Labour Relations Board.  

You can track some of the past items of note leading up to the labour dispute from our archive page here.

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