Voisey’s strike dims bright industry

Steve Bartlett
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Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale.

The lengthy strike at Voisey’s Bay took some of the sheen off the province’s mining industry this year, according to the minister of Natural Resources.

“The mining news, however, has not been entirely good,” Kathy Dunderdale told the Mineral Resources Review 2010 conference Thursday.

“It would be inappropriate for me to go any further without mentioning the ongoing Voisey’s Bay strike, which is now in its 16th month.”

The minister made the comments after she spent more than 10 minutes rhyming off positive developments in an industry that will ship $3.2 billion worth of minerals this year, and by all accounts, is rebounding well from the global recession.

After the United Steelworkers and Vale — which owns the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine — failed to reach an agreement by an Oct. 22 deadline, the province followed through on its commitment and called an industrial inquiry.

Dunderdale said that was an “extraordinary measure” for government to take.

“(It’s) a measure that we believe demonstrates both the seriousness of this matter and our concern for the length of the strike,” she said.

“The mining news, however, has not been entirely good. It would be inappropriate for me to go any further without mentioning the ongoing Voisey’s Bay strike, which is now in its 16th month.” Kathy Dunderdale

“It is imperative that this strike get resolved so that operations and the lives of the employees and their families can get back to normal.”

It was noted in an address following the minister’s that the Voisey’s Strike also had some impact on the overall worth of minerals sector, which is being driven by iron ore.

Richard Wardle, assistant deputy minister in Dunderdale’s department, said the dollar value of the nickel shipped from the province was “less than it could have been because of the long strike at Voisey’s Bay, which has really reduced nickel production by about half of its total value in 2009 and 2010.”

On Oct. 28, the inquiry gave Vale and the union a week to produce documentation about their bargaining efforts during the strike.



Twitter: @bartlett_steve

Organizations: Mineral Resources Review 2010

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Recent comments

  • Corey Boon
    November 08, 2010 - 10:25

    Unions and Negotiators. The terrible Joke! I find it nothing short of insane that so-called negotiators on both sides of an issue cannot find common ground to effect positive results for all parties involved. The first consideration must be that the Strikers themsleves are not professionally represented by their union! Unions have a well deserved negative reputation who are so out of touch with business reality that they cannot possibly represent workers. All these fools know is adversarial behaviour. The greatest pity is that Strikers and their families permit ignorant fools to represent them, putting them and their families in danger of financial jeopardy. They will never, ever regain their losses of the past 16 months with any kind of a raise they get now! Therein lies the ignorance of Union management! Negotiators! What negotiators? Negotiators - negotiate, and I don't see any of that happening. That is the responsibility of all concerned parties and as far as we can see, all of them are guilty of shirking that responsibility and simply implies that both sides could care less. Irresponsible? Completely!

  • Randy
    November 05, 2010 - 18:08

    No offence to ms bludderdale,but she has no clue about what she speaks.If there ever was a moronic,coat holding minister ,it s her nuff said ,they may trace me lol

  • nasty nate
    November 05, 2010 - 15:44

    The only two lights it has dimmed are the dimm-witted Union members and the profits to the Province. I am sure Vale is doing very, very well. When you have the employee's dictating terms to those that hire and pay them you have a problem.