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Court puts restrictions on Falconbridge strikers

Financial News, Tuesday 31 October 2000

TORONTO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Canadian nickel producer Falconbridge Ltd. obtained a court order on Tuesday to restrict picket line activities of 1,260 striking miners at its nickel-copper facility in Sudbury, Ontario.

All of its production and maintenance workers walked off the job 14 weeks ago after contract talks failed.

Negotiations to end the strike have not resumed since September, with the union accusing management of trying to unravel the collective agreement as the company pushes for contract adjustments that will reduce costs by cutting union representation and make its business more competitive.

A company spokesman said the order gives Falconbridge unrestricted access to its facilities without delays at the picket line, limits the number of picketers to 20 per site and restricts picket lines to outside company premises.

Falconbridge, one of the world's biggest nickel producers, went to court on Monday after it said strikers were obstructing traffic going in and out of the Sudbury complex, including bus loads of managerial staff helping to operate its smelter.

"We expect the union to respect the judge's decision," company spokesman Craig Crosby said from Sudbury.

"With this behind us, we hope the focus will be on resolving the strike," he added.

The Canadian Auto Workers union was not immediately available for comment.