IOC not speaking on suspensions

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Company mum after action against an estimated 150 workers

Executives at the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) are not interested in speaking publicly on an estimated 150 worker suspensions issued at the Labrador West mine over the holidays.

The IOC mine site.

“We do not comment publicly on internal processes such as discipline,” said Heather Bruce-Veitch, director of communications and external relations with IOC, in an emailed response to questions.

A company memo, as The Telegram has reported, warned workers before the holidays of the potential for three-day suspensions, if they failed to show up for their shifts.

Related story:

IOC suspends 150

IOC needed all hands on deck, it stated, in order to maintain productivity.

The mining operation has been struggling under current iron ore prices.

A mine expansion, the Wabush 3 pit, cleared environmental assessment in September 2015, only to be placed on hold by the company before year-end.

Written communications with workers have noted the challenging market conditions, stating the mine remains “at risk.”

As for the recent suspensions, the province’s Labour Relations Act protects an employers’ right to suspend workers. “Except as otherwise expressly provided,” it notes, “nothing in this Act affects the right of an employer to suspend, transfer, lay off or discharge an employee for proper and sufficient cause.”

Union president Ron Thomas, with United Steelworkers Local 5795, argues many of the suspensions were without cause, however and cannot be justified.

Grievances have been filed.

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Recent comments

  • Jack
    January 06, 2016 - 17:06

    Its due to a fact that IOC management are cowards as they knew they broke this province's labour laws in suspending employees for missing their shifts due to legitimate medical excuses, but not willing to admit that what they did was wrong.

  • Jack
    January 06, 2016 - 17:00

    Darlene, if you read between the lines, some employees had valid medical excuses with a Doctor's note indicating a stomach virus and still got suspended for it. Under Newfoundland and Labrador's labour laws, if an employee is unable to work due to a legitimate excuse, including a family emergency, death in the family, or an illness, an employer has no right to suspend or fire you. In other words, an employer absolutely has no right to suspend you due to a legitimate medical reason, and you have a Doctor's Note or medical form to prove it. To do so otherwise is tantamount to slavery.

    • Peter
      January 09, 2016 - 11:38

      Yes, because a doctor will never give a person a 'doctored' note because they told them they have an upset stomach....The doctor gets paid for the visit and the employee gets the holidays off.....voila. Everybody is happy...except the company being short-handed or the person that was legitimately scheduled off having to come to work. Sure there are legitimate cases but they're easily over-shadowed by the other 140 or so playing the 'system'.

  • foreign companies
    January 06, 2016 - 15:54

    This company has made untold millions off NL & her people but can treat our own like crap & get away with it. make no wonder our young people leave to work & live elsewhere.

  • Darlene
    January 06, 2016 - 09:29

    Did you work during the holidays ?...if the answer is NO...THEN YOU GET SUSPENDED...simple isn't it...cheers

    • Brad
      January 06, 2016 - 11:32

      I'm no union fan boy...but what if someone is the stomach flu or legitimately sick? Shouldn't be suspended unless you had a legit reason

    • Spaz
      January 06, 2016 - 19:01

      No, not that simple Darlene.