Rio Tinto plans to meet with Unifor Local 2301, the workers’ union at its Kitimat smelter in British Columbia, Canada, to resume negotiations and end a workers’ strike that has entered its third week.
The aluminum smelter was compelled to reduce production to around 35pc of its 432,000mt capacity after negotiations between the firm and Unifor broke down and the latter called for a strike. Now, Rio plans to resume talks with the union on Aug 12, according to media reports that cited a letter to employees saying that both parties would evaluate options of going back to the negotiating table and find a way to resume normal operations.
Martin Mcllwrath, the union’s president, told the media that while this was a positive step, the company would have to work through many issues with the union before the matter could be settled. On its part, Rio Tinto said in the letter that during the previous discussions the company could not have a comparable agreement to the ones in its other Canadian businesses due to the many demands put forth by the unions
Around 900 workers at Kitimat went on strike on Jul 29, demanding changes to workers’ retirement benefits and other unresolved grievances.