[Sudbury Vale] Layoff talk premature, Bertrand says – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – August 15, 2017)


Vale may have to make some hard decisions in coming months regarding its operations in Sudbury, but the head of a local union says it’s premature to talk about job losses.

“In this case right now, there’s no numbers,” said Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand. “We’ve asked them straight out, is there going to be any layoffs of any kind, because there’s so many people talking about different numbers. What we got from the company is that there is not a number, they don’t have a number.”

Bertrand also said there has been no membership meeting to discuss layoffs, as The Star earlier reported, citing a source. “That’s totally not true,” he said. Concerns grew among workers over the past week after they were shown a Vale video suggesting tough times lie ahead.

“I met with senior management last Wednesday and had the opportunity to look at the same video, from vice-president Stuart Harshaw, that they’re showing to our membership,” said Bertrand. “The video is very doom and gloom, there’s no doubt about it.”

The company is concerned about the low nickel price and “the need to make some money in these mines,” said Bertrand. “If some of the mines are not going to have any profit, they’ll just leave it there and come after it later. That was kind of the conversation we had with them.”

The North Mine, in particular, could see less activity. “It’s a low-grade ore body but there’s also some seismicity that’s happening, where they’re having some difficulty getting at one of their ore bodies,” he said.

The situation is frustrating to Bertrand and other labour officials because “a lot of this could have been avoided,” he said, had the company strategized better. “We feel that past management, people that are no longer here, didn’t do a very good job with their mine planning.”

For the rest of this article: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2017/08/15/layoff-talk-premature-bertrand-says