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Unstable relations with Steelworkers rocks Nanisivik Mine

United Steelworkers of America press release, 16 August 2000

NANISIVIK, NU, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - Contract talks have broken off between the United Steelworkers' Local 9446 at Nanisivik Mine and Breakwater Resources Ltd.'s wholly-owned subsidiary, Canzinco Ltd., threatening the mine's continuous production records for the first time since its commission in 1978.

Nanisivik Mine is located 700 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, and was purchased by Breakwater Resources in 1996. The Steelworkers union was certified to represent the 145 miners last spring.

"These workers joined our union because they wanted to improve their working conditions," said Steelworkers' Western Canada Assistant Director Ron Schmidt. "Since 1997, there have been no wage increases or profit sharing bonuses. In some cases, incomes have been cut despite continuous record production. We are trying to bargain more humane work rotations, contracting out protection, job security, and innovative language to incorporate the Inuit workforce at the mine."

"We are working extended work rotations at the mine, leaving our families 3,000 kilometres behind for 13 weeks at a time," said Steelworkers' Local 9446 President Hiram House. "We are working in an environment where the winter can last 10 months of the year, and the sun is not seen from the end of October to the middle of February. Benefits like pay raises, profit sharing bonuses and vacations make it bearable."

The parties will meet in conciliation later this month (August 28 and 29).

For further information: Ron Schmidt, (604) 873-3905; Hiram House, (867) 436-7203; Steelworkers Website: http://www.uswa.ca; Steelworkers E-Mail: uswa@uswa.ca

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