RTA issues lockout notice, CAW responds with strike notice as Alcan smelter contract deadline looms

Negotiations between Rio Tinto Alcan and Canadian Auto Workers Local 2301 are going down to the wire. The current contact expires Monday, July 23.

The CAW says 96 per cent of members voted in favour of strike action during voting Thursday and Friday. The Local represents 1150 workers at the Alcan smelter. One of the main issues in the negotiations is a reduction in the workforce to 699.

CAW Local 2301 president Rick Belmont said the union received a 72 hour lockout notice this afternoon and the union responded with a strike notice.

RTA spokeperson Colleen Nyce says issuing lockout and strike notice is standard practice during negotiations.

Both sides say negotiations will continue through the weekend.

If there are picket lines it could be a confusing and possibly volatile situation because the Kitimat Modernization Project is on the same site with a work camp full of construction workers on RTA property.

Most construction workers are employed or contracted by Bechtel, the construction contractor and are not members of CAW 2301.

Fisheries minister calls CAW objections to Coast Guard radio cutbacks “misleading”

Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield late Wednesday issued a statement calling objections by the CAW to an overtime ban at Coast Guard radio, “misleading.”

The safety of Mariners is our top priority and we would not implement any policies that would put lives at risk.

As a result of a risk assessment and workload study, in which the CAW participated, the Coast Guard is reducing the number of overtime hours for employees at Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre to reflect the actual workload at any given time.

While the union tries to portray this as shortsighted, the fact is that this approach has already been in use successfully in Victoria and Quebec for about 5 and 10 years respectively and the Coast Guard is simply now expanding this approach on a national level.

There will be no jobs lost as a result of the implementation and mariners will continue to receive the same level of service they currently receive.

Like any responsible organization, we must ensure that we use our resources wisely. Canadians do not want to be paying for unnecessary or unproductive overtime.


Related  Links Jan.4, 2012 -Cuts to Coast Guard hours