Vale continues to cut its Sudbury workforce. United Steelworkers Local president Rick Bertrand confirmed the Brazilian mining giant had laid off 21 people at its Sudbury operations on Thursday morning. The company made an official announcement around noon.
“This past year has been one of transformation in our Ontario operations,” Angie Robson, manager of corporate affairs for Vale’s Ontario operations, said in an emailed statement. “The ramp down of Stobie Mine and the Clarabelle Mill Crushing Plant, the transition to a single furnace and the closure of the copper circuit in our Smelter means that Ontario operations will produce lower volumes than we have in recent years. While we are smaller today, these decisions have set us up to be much more agile and competitive in the years ahead.
“As a result, today, formal layoff notices were given to 21 production and maintenance employees in accordance with our Collective Agreement with USW Local 6500.”
Bertrand said the union plans to fight the layoffs. “We’re very disappointed with the company’s decision to lay off 21 of our members,” he told The Star. “We feel as a union that there’s still a lot of contractors on the property and our members should not be getting laid off at all.
“We’re going to grieve this immediately. We’re going to take this to arbitration. We have language that we feel supports that they’re doing the layoffs in the wrong manner and we’re going to be going to arbitration to fight for their jobs, absolutely.”
The cuts are the latest at Vale’s Sudbury operations. In September, the company confirmed that Stuart Harshaw was let go as head of Vale’s Ontario operations as the position has been eliminated.
The company blamed harsh market conditions for its decision. Vale also said it is trying to streamline processes.
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