The Unifor Local 2301 union is telling its members they are absolutely on strike and will be withdrawing their services as of midnight tonight, July 25.
In a bulletin released early July 24, the union said they were expecting ‘big moves’ from Rio Tinto (RT) but that the company only offered joint mediation through the BC Labour Relations Board.
The company believes mediation would help both parties come to an agreement but the union turned it down, claiming that it was a stalling tactic.
The union says they are willing to continue bargaining and have agreed to have a number of workers considered as essential at the company’s Kemano power production and smelter power operations facilities, which is in line with how the provincial Labour Relations Board ruled back during previous negotiations in 20012 and 2017.
This time, however, potline workers have been added to the essential list so as to have an orderly and controlled shut down of production.
Picketing will begin to take place in two separate locations – one on the road leading to the smelter cafeteria gate and the other at the main smelter gate — which will be the only access point for anyone entering the smelter.
Usually picketing would take place at the railroad tracks but LNG Canada has applied to prevent that from happening so as to not affect its own work.
Unifor Local 2301 represents around 900 workers at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelting plant in Kitimat and power operations facility in Kemano.