Work or be fired, unions tell wildcat striking members

Published on July 15, 2012
Workers gather near accommodation buildings at the Vale construction site in Long Harbour Thursday following a walkout by crane operators. — Photo by Elizabeth MacDonald/The Charter

The Resource Development Trades Council has told its members to go to work on Monday — or risk losing their jobs.

The council represents 16 unions involved in the construction of the Vale nickel processing plant in Long Harbour.

A wildcat strike has paralyzed the massive project since Thursday.

Crane operators working at the site walked off the job in the early morning hours and kept workers with other trade unions from getting onto the site. Members of other trade unions have since joined them in their protest.

A court injunction has been ordered to prevent them from blocking access to the site.

The trades council told the media today that it did not sanction this strike and said, in no uncertain terms, that it does not support any continuation of that action.

Gus Doyle, president of the council, told reporters that it is encouraging all its members to go back to work on Monday. Otherwise, they could be fired by Vale.

“If not today, maybe tomorrow, the employer will decide that. But yes, eventually they will replace these workers,” said Doyle.

He added that he hopes the situation will not deteriorate that far.

Union members who spoke with reporters following the council press conference expressed frustration with their union for not supporting them. They also brought up a number of issues, they say have been ongoing for some time, as reason enough to strike.

For the full story see Monday’s Telegram.