||Issue No. 314||07 July 2006|
The Power of Ones
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Canucks Can BHP
Public Service Alliance of Canada members at the Ekati diamond mine in Yellowknife voted to ratify a tentative agreement, ending a strike that began April 7 and securing the mine's first union contract.
"Ekati workers voted 66% in favour of the one-year contract that contains a full grievance procedure to provide wage increases, protect workers from arbitrary and unfair treatment, a signing benefit, more vacation days and other improvements," said Jean-François Des Lauriers, PSAC Executive Vice-President-North.
"This has been a tough strike but our members are going back to work with significant improvements in their workplace as a result of their determination," Des Lauriers said. "And we will be back at the bargaining table on our members' behalf next year."
Todd Parsons, President of the Union of Northern Workers component of PSAC, which represents Diamond Workers UNW Local X3050, said the vote results indicate it was a difficult decision for members to go back to work.
"Ekati workers clearly had hoped to achieve more in this round of bargaining but facing a mulitnational employer who makes $7.5 billion in annual profits and just getting a first contract with the terms and conditions we won is quite an accomplishment," Parsons said. "Our union is now in place and we can build on this success in the next round of negotiations."
Parsons said PSAC's Dirty Diamonds campaign urging an international boycott of Ekati-produced AuriasTM and CanadaMarkTM diamonds is now over and the union will instead encourage consumers to buy union-produced diamonds.
The tentative agreement announced June 23 was reached with the assistance and direction of the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Ekati is Canada's first diamond mine. It produces 6 per cent of the world's diamond supply by value or 4 per cent by weight and yields 3 to 5 million carats annually. It is located 300 km northeast of Yellowknife and 200 km south of the Arctic Circle.
The victory was facilitated by a world-wide campaign on LabourStart which generated 2,245 messages of protest to the employer.
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