RTA, CAW reach tentative agreement, ending threat of lockout or strike at aluminum smelter

Both Rio Tinto Alcan and the Canadian Autoworkers Local 2301 have announced the union has reached a tentative agreement with the company for a new contract.

Details posted on the CAW 2301 website says ” parties negotiated a marathon session lasting 29 hours leading to the tentative agreement on Tuesday July 24th at noon.”

Some of the features of the tentative agreement are as follows:

• 5 year agreement
• Wages: Year 1 – 3%, Year 2 – 2.5%, Year 3 – 2.5%, Year 4 – 2.5%, Year 5 – 3%
• Job security letter (no lay-offs) re-signed
• All temporary workers hired to full-time
• Five terminated temporary welders hired to full-time
• $2500.00 Signing bonus for regulars, temporaries and LTD members
• Agreement on classifications for workers in the KMP
• Pension multiplier increases
• Retiree benefits increases
• Active employee benefit increases
• Increases to Shift, Weekend, Skilled Trades and Kemano premiums

An RTA release says “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the union representatives at our Kitimat aluminium smelter and powerhouse operations in Kemano – one that is in the best interests of our workforce and reflects Rio Tinto Alcan’s long-term strategy and commitment to British Columbia,” said Etienne Jacques, chief operating officer, Rio Tinto Alcan Primary Metal, North America. “This agreement will enable us to complete an efficient transition from the actual smelter to the new one and ensure our long term competitiveness. This is an important achievement, as we gear up for the transformational Kitimat modernisation project”.

The Kitimat smelter produced 168,000 tonnes in 2011. The smelter modernisation project which will increase capacity to 420,000 tonnes per year is still ongoing.