Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Voisey's bay goings on from Brian at Nain Bay

I must say I really haven't been following the goings on at Voisey's bay as of late. I do remember hearing about the blockade of what the reporter said was a resupply cargo ship. he never said anything about the cargo ship being an Ore carrier going into Voisey's bay mine to load up the stockpiled ore for transshipment to Thompson and Sudbury. Even if Sudbury and Thompson have vowed to not process any stores of ore from Voisey's bay the remaining Ore still shouldn't be allowed to cross picket lines. Especially when those workers only want parity with their other union brothers.

"The mine stopped producing on July 28, when workers went on strike after the two sides failed to negotiate their first labor agreement."

"Unionized workers at Inco's smelters in Sudbury and Thompson, Man., have said they will refuse to process any stores of concentrate from Labrador as long as the strike lasts."

The other reality is that Voisey's Bay is a seasonal operation for shipping out ore so of course VBNC is going to want to load any ore that is stock piled at the VBNC site for transshipment to Sudbury and Thompson. So in effect if they are allowed to ship out this ore they will be preping themselves for ore processing throughout the winter when VBNC can't be accessed due to the ice freeze up. So in effect putting themselves into a better position to prolong an agreement until they can wait out the strikers for a couple of more months, knowing that with their stockpiles of ore they will be able to work through the winter until VBNC is accessible for shipments once again come spring.

"The company will not say whether a huge ore carrier now at the port will be loaded with nickel and copper concentrate mined before the strike began in late July."

What baffles me is the fact that Thompson and Sudbury who owe their jobs in part to the Voisey bay workers and ore are not out on strike in solidarity. Isn't that the reason for joining a union, together we are strong. It isn't enough to say you won't process Voisey's bay ore they should be out on strike or at the very least be doing work stopages or work to rule to try and get parity for their union brothers.

"Extreme LME nickel tightness abates…for now
Voisey's Bay was scheduled to produce 54,000t of metal in concentrates this year and with the two sides seemingly absolutely deadlocked since the start of the action back in late July, even Eramet must surely concede that's tonnage this market cannot afford to lose."
According to this piece INCO can't afford to let that stock piled ore at VBNC sit there over the winter.

I do find it strange that an injunction sought by INCO to remove the blockade was granted? It's not like Nickle and copper are an essential service. Now if you read the PR carefully it only states that the shipping lanes around the mine site remain clear. Now shipping lanes to my mind don't include docking facilities or harbour routes.

"Voisey's Bay Nickel has obtained a court injunction that will end a union-sponsored harbour blockade at the mine site in northern Labrador.

The Newfoundland Supreme Court issued an interim injunction on Thursday afternoon, ordering that shipping lanes around the mine site remain clear."


"The company has said it loses an estimated 6,000 metric tons of nickel-ore output a day because of the strike, which began July 28."

Main sticking point being wage parity with other Canadians in the same Company doing the same work in Canada.
VBNC making 19$ hr - Thompson and Sudbury making 24$ hr.

5.00$ difference
8hrs day - 40.00$
40hrs week - 200.00$
52 weeks a year - 2,080 hrs
2,080 hrs - 10,400.00$ year

21% less than their counterparts within the same company.

Management get paid parity to their counterparts elsewhere.

You are wrong about VBNC not shipping in and out in the winter. Two to three shipments per year are scheduled each year AFTER FREEZE UP.

I don’t blame you and others being confused over the cargo/ore carrying vessels used here and other remote mines. CBC regional and national did a piss poor job of covering the strike; I heard several reports by CBC that made it clear that the vessels held up by the strikers were cargo vessels. True to a point, but the reports were not balanced or researched very well.
Okalakatiget Society radio, CKOK, with studios in Nain have done a sterling job covering this story, especially considering non of the reporters have attended journalism school, get fat salaries and pension packages.

The Brain in Nain is called Brian, but thanks anyway. Thanks for the in depth coverage and links too
OOps sorry about that misprint Brian. I fixed it.

Like I stated I haven't been following this issue much probably in part because there hasn't been much coverage.

Trying to do a little catch up now to get my head around the issues.

I've compiled a list of talking points I'll post on your blog.
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