The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The takeover of mining giant Xstrata Nickel by trader Glencore could be a good thing for Sudbury, says the president of the union representing 855 production and maintenance workers at Xstrata’s Sudbury operations.
The $31-billion takeover approved by Xstrata shareholders Tuesday could result in more investment in exploration and mine development, said Richard Paquin, president of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW.
The deal isn’t final, said Paquin, as it requires regulatory approval by several countries, including the European Union. But it is one step closer to a merger almost one year in the making.
Xstrata shareholders were expected to approve the takeover offer Tuesday and they did, but they surprised observers by failing to endorse a plan that would pay top Xstrata executives big money to remain with the merged company.
Those key executives won’t get that protection with this approval, said Paquin, adding that is not his and his union’s issue. Nor are Paquin and his union worried about being taken over by another foreign company.
“We’ve been through mergers before. It’s not the first process of this sort,” said the union leader.
Local 598 has “been successful” with Swiss-based Xstrata Nickel since it acquired the former Falconbridge in 2006, he said.
The union struck a three-year collective agreement with Xstrata in both 2007 and 2010, and it is about to begin negotiations on a third contract.
The union’s current contract expires Jan. 31, so it is unlikely it will be bargaining with a new company before then, said Paquin.
The local’s bargaining committee is finishing its proposal to Xstrata, which it will present to members mid-December and to the mining company before Christmas.
Face-to-face bargaining with Xstrata, starting with the exchange of proposals, is tentatively set for Jan. 3.
Paquin doesn’t think the merger with Glencore will affect bargaining.
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