Lower regime to the smelter ABI in Bécancour

Baisse de régime à l’aluminerie ABI de Bécancour

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
For the Steelworkers union, whose members have demonstrated in Montreal in November last, the rest of the tanks reflects a lack of respect for the negotiation process.

Alcoa puts to rest the half of the tanks still in production at the smelter ABI in Bécancour, in a move announced Wednesday, which occurs at the approach of an important date in the mediation between the company and union members locked out.

Two sets of tanks have been arrested in January 2018, but the presence of frameworks has helped to maintain the third series in production after the outbreak of the conflict which touches 1030 employees for the past 11 months.

The non-unionized employees of Alcoa, which holds 75 % of the smelter, have made the production and maintenance up here, but the company chose to reduce the pace due to a series of ” retirements and departures “. The other 25 % belongs to Rio Tinto Alcan.

The gesture came two days to the deadline of Friday set by Quebec in the hope of an agreement between the parties. The board of mediation is chaired by Lucien Bouchard and also includes the sub?deputy minister for labour Relations at the ministry of Labour, Melanie Hillinger, and the conciliator Jean Nolin.

An agreement expected

“After long negotiations this year, ABI and the trade union have not yet agreed on the key ways to improve productivity and profitability, said the company in Pittsburgh in a press release early in the morning. The management of ABI, remains devoted to getting a negotiated agreement. “

The decision reflects a lack of respect, has advanced the Steelworkers union. “We know that the judgment of a part of the vats increases costs and the time needed for a restart. It is a flagrant lack of respect for the bargaining process, at two days from the deadline set by Quebec, ” said the president of local 9700, Clement Mass.

Mr. Mass, who was also president during the strike in 2004, said in an interview with various media that the announcement of the closure of half of the tanks remaining means, according to him, that the plant is “probably” not cost-effective when it is operated in a reduced way by the executives. One hundred non-unionized employees are currently in charge of the factory, he said on the radio 106,9 Mauricie (Cogeco).

We know that the judgment of a part of the vats increases costs and the time needed for a restart. It is a flagrant lack of respect for the negotiation process.

— Clement Mass

When the three series of tanks are working, the annual production capacity is 413 000 tonnes. Abi ABI is the largest employer in the region, and the reduction of production since the beginning of the labour dispute has resulted in losses of more than $ 200 million to Hydro-Quebec, according to the Steelworkers.

The parties have agreed not to negotiate in public, but at the outbreak of the lockout, the pension plan and seniority in the movement of personnel were the number of issues.

“The mediation process continues. The parties will meet today [Wednesday] with the help of the council of mediation, then there is no change, ” said the member of parliament for Trois-Rivières Jean Boulet, who is also minister of Labour, Employment and social Solidarity and minister responsible for the Mauricie region.

Mr. Boulet, speaking during a brief media scrum in the national Assembly, added that ” the release [of the company] mentions that it shall ensure that the employees-managers ensure that the plant is ready to restart “.

The government Legault must “ensure” that the parties reach an agreement before the deadline, said the liberal mp Jean Rousselle, a spokesman for the official opposition in terms of work.

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