CAW Local 598 Members Overwhelmingly Ratify Xstrata Agreement

February 3, 2010, 11:51 AM EST

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CAW/Mine Mill Local 598 members at Xstrata Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year collective agreement that rejects company demands for concessions and ensures greater job security for workers.

CAW members voted 93 per cent in favour of the new agreement. The CAW represents 580 active members and 500 workers who are laid off.

"Our priorities included the elimination of numerous company demands for concessions that were on the bargaining table, while also making gains in the areas of job security and pensions," said Jerry Dias, assistant to the CAW President. "With the support of the membership we achieved those objectives after tough around the clock bargaining."

The new agreement includes a $2,500 signing bonus for active and laid off workers, a retirement incentive of $10,000 for eligible employees who voluntarily elect to retire with an unreduced pension during the life of the agreement, and the re-opening of the Fraser Copper Mine creating 140 jobs.

Other gains include a $150 per month pension gain for those with 30 years service or more, spousal life insurance of $10,000 and a number of other benefit gains. There is a wage increase in the third year and COLA is maintained.

Company demands for temporary recalls and temporary workers were rejected. "All members returning to work will have the same rights as any other member and their recall rights will be renewed," said CAW/Mine Mill Local 598 President Richard Paquin.

He stressed that the new agreement protects and improves the pension plan. "Our membership has remained united throughout this journey and has to be commended for staying united," Paquin said. "This allowed your bargaining committee to remain strong and firm on the main issues that our membership wanted addressed."

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