Xstrata Sudbury Nickel Unit Averts Strike After Labor Agreementadmin
Xstrata Plc, the world’s fourth- biggest nickel producer, and workers at its Sudbury unit in Canada reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, avoiding a strike that would have shut down 4 percent of world production.
Details of the three-year agreement, reached minutes before a strike was set to begin at midnight on Jan. 31, won’t be released until the unionized workers get a chance to see it, Hemi Mitic, assistant to the president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, said in an interview.
A strike at the Sudbury, Ontario-area mines, which Zug, Switzerland-based Xstrata obtained when it bought Falconbridge Ltd. for $18 billion in July, would have compounded a global shortage of nickel used in stainless steel. Prices have more than doubled during the past year.
“I think there was some influence from the senior people at Xstrata” in helping to reach the first labor agreement in a decade without a strike, Mitic said. “I get a sense they want to build a relationship with the union.”
The CAW went on strike for three weeks in 1997, seven months in 2000 and 2001 and three weeks in 2004.