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Falconbridge says court to rule Tuesday on strikers

Reuters, Monday 30 October 2000, 6:29 pm Eastern Time

TORONTO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Canadian nickel miner Falconbridge Ltd. said on Monday that the outcome of a court application to stop striking workers from disrupting traffic at its mining and milling complex in Sudbury, Ontario, would be known on Tuesday.

The 1,260 production and maintenance workers went on strike on Aug. 1 after contract talks collapsed and the previous labour agreement expired. The union has accused management of trying to unravel the collective agreement, while Falconbridge is pushing for contract adjustments that will reduce costs by cutting union representation and make its business units more competitive.

Company spokesman Craig Crosby said a court in Sudbury had postponed its ruling until 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

"We want the blockading to stop. They have a right to picket but not to blockade," Crosby said.

Falconbridge, which produces 4 percent of the world's nickel, or 35,000 tonnes annually, in Sudbury, is seeking a court order to stop the strikers from blocking or delaying trucks and buses at the copper-nickel facility.

The Canadian Auto Workers union said on Monday it had challenged Falconbridge's court application.

"We said essentially that we are doing our normal picketing that we normally do, and of course there will be some delays and emotions get high, but there is no reason to have an injunction," Canadian Auto Workers union spokesman Hemic Mitic said.

Falconbridge and the union have been unable to schedule further talks to settle the strike.