CAW Negotiates Agreement To Help Laid Off Xstrata Workers

February 16, 2009, 2:02 PM EST

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The CAW has negotiated an agreement with Xstrata Nickel to ensure CAW Local 598 members who are laid off at its Sudbury mining operations receive full wages and benefits for 16 weeks and also maintain recall rights.

"Our committee worked very hard to move the company from their initial position of forced termination before the workers would have received their 16 weeks pay," said Jerry Dias, assistant to the CAW President. "Our members will now get 16 weeks pay and retain their recall rights," he said.

Richard Paquin, Local 598 unit chair, said the agreement will minimize the impact on many workers. "It doesn't bring back as many jobs as we had hoped but it does offer our members financial relief so they can actually plan their family lives and carry on with their own lives," Paquin told The Sudbury Star.

CAW Local 598 President Dwight Harper said when Xstrata bought the company it had agreed not to layoff workers for three years, the end date of which would be July 25. As a result, Harper said the union is seeking restitution from the federal government for the period between June 4 and July 25.

The union has also negotiated early retirement packages for 27 Xstrata employees.

Earlier this month Xstrata announced it was shutting down its Sudbury operations for three days. It indicated it would call back 578 CAW members, but also permanently layoff 578 other members. After that announcement the CAW entered into negotiations with Xstrata to bargain an agreement to help workers facing layoff.

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