Bécancour smelter: the negotiations are suspended

Aluminerie de Bécancour: les négociations sont suspendues

MONTREAL — The special mediator appointed to facilitate negotiations in the labour dispute at the Bécancour smelter (ABI), Lucien Bouchard, announced the suspension of the negotiations due to the positions too far apart between the employer and the union.

The 1030 workers of the factory ABI are in lock-out since 11 January.

In a press release published in the early after-noon, on Friday, Mr. Bouchard explained that the parties have agreed to give himself time to “determine the conditions that would enable them to reconvene at the bargaining table”.

Last month, a summit meeting was held between the union and senior management of Alcoa in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the end of this meeting, the quebec director of the Steelworkers, Alain Croteau, had described the tone of the discussion “respectful”.

Since this attempt to resolve the conflict of work, “several sessions were held in Montreal, in the framework of a select committee,” reveals the ex-prime minister and ombudsman.

However, “in view of the positions of very distant”, the parties consider “the context does not lend itself to a return to the negotiating table,” added Mr. Bouchard.

A few minutes after the dissemination of the press release signed by Mr. Bouchard, the Steelworkers Union has confirmed the suspension of the talks.

The representatives of the local section 9700 want to take the time to inform their members of the status of discussions before commenting further on the situation in the media.

“The dispute concerns the respect of the seniority in the movement of main-d’?the implementation and funding of the pension plan,” says the union in its press release.
After the meeting in Pittsburgh, the union said he was “willing to negotiate in good and due form”.

For its part, the management of ABI, says it is “disappointed that the process did not conclude a framework settlement with the union”. It adds that it has proposed to the union “solutions that would respect the seniority and ensure employment to all employees currently locked out”.

Meanwhile, the management of ABI continues to operate the factory during the lock-out, but only a series of tanks on three. It still takes advantage of a tariff of hydropower benefits.

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