Production remains suspended at Iron Ore Company of Canada as the strike by the United Steelworkers union continues, a spokeswoman with parent company Rio Tinto said Wednesday, emphasizing that contractors working at the facility are keeping it under care and maintenance status.
USW Local 5795, which has 1,300 members, has accused the company of hiring replacement workers. The strike at the facility in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, began March 27.
“The ones that are on site, the contractors, it is legal to have replacement workers in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Gagnon said. She added that the workers “coming on site are the ones that really need to be there and [are there] because of their expertise.”
“We’re not producing,” she added.
IOC, a producer of iron ore pellets and concentrate, recently laid off two-thirds of its salaried work force in Sept-Iles, Quebec, because the strike has reduced the company’s need to operate the rail and port facilities that normally handle iron ore shipments from Labrador City.
Gagnon confirmed that no new bargaining sessions are scheduled between the company and union.
A union member said this week in an interview that the situation is “getting scary” because “both sides are digging in.”
In the past, labor disputes between the parties have been settled in just a few weeks.