‘Progress’ seen in salt mine talks

The Beacon Herald - - NEWS - HANK DANISZEWSKI and KATH­LEEN SMITH

GODERICH — There are hope­ful signs the Goderich salt mine strike could end soon as the two sides re­sumed talks Fri­day.

The com­pany and union is­sued a joint state­ment late Thurs­day, say­ing, “Uni­for and Com­pass Min­er­als re­turned to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble to­day and progress was made.”

The re­lease said the two sides had agreed to re­sume bar­gain­ing at 9 a.m. yes­ter­day

Uni­for Lo­cal 16-0 pres­i­dent Gary Lynch said the two sides bar­gained Thurs­day un­til about 9 p.m.

About 350 mine work­ers have been on strike since April 27.

On Fri­day the union held the lat­est in a se­ries of ral­lies.

The hastily or­ga­nized rally at Har­bour Park drew hun­dreds of Uni­for mem­bers, in­clud­ing some from across the prov­ince, and sup­port­ive lo­cal res­i­dents.

One Uni­for mem­ber at the rally said the Goderich strike is a big test for Cana­dian labour. “If (Com­pass) got away with this at the mine, it would be a frame­work for cor­po­ra­tions to smash unions across the coun­try,” said the mem­ber, who de­clined to be named.

The strike hit a cru­cial point last week when strik­ers bar­ri­caded the mine’s only en­trance to stop re­place­ment work­ers en­ter­ing or leav­ing. The block­ade was re­moved as a con­di­tion of talks re­sum­ing.

Com­pass Min­er­als said it made the union an of­fer that in­cluded wage in­creases and ben­e­fit im­prove­ments.

The union main­tained the com­pany is de­mand­ing con­ces­sions such as manda­tory over­time, re­duced ben­e­fits and a weak­en­ing of con­tract­ing-out pro­vi­sions.

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