Posted by Sudbury Northern Life Reporter Bill Bradley
UPDATE- Vale Inco is refusing to co-operate with the United Steelworkers union, Local 2020, in any way following the layoffs of 65 of its members last week, said Jim Kmit, area co-ordinator for the union.
In all, 261 Vale Inco employees were laid off at its Sudbury operations. Worldwide, 900 people lost their jobs.
"The company said they will continue to contract out work and lay off Vale Inco employees," said Kmit. "They will not put the pension offer from December 2008 on the table. They will not make any financial offer to our workers even though they did offer the staff a pay out."
Kmit said union workers laid off were very angry.
"Taking back the pension offer (from workers) was like rubbing it in their nose."
If the pension offer was brought back, senior workers could have taken early retirement allowing fewer or no layoffs to have to happen, said Kmit.
But Steve Ball, spokesperson for Vale Inco, said in regards to Kmit's statements that the company was "following the process outlined in the collective agreement" and "had nothing further to add at this time."
Vale made over $1 billion in the last quarter of 2008, and the Canadian government now allows the company to lay off people, charged Kmit.
"Canadians had a commitment from the company not to layoff any workers until October 2009. We are in the same boat as Xstrata workers."
Kmit dismissed the company's contention that it had hired more people after taking over the former Inco than it had laid off.
"That is nonsense. A layoff is a layoff. We know they wanted to do some capital projects that meant new employees would be hired," he noted.
"Now the Canadian taxpayers will have to foot the bill in employment insurance payments while Vale takes all the profits back to Brazil," said Kmit.
"Why not use some of that $1.1 billion in profits and give some to those who need it most-employees laid off."
Kmit said the problem was that all decisions were being made in Brazil by Brazilians and not by local management.
"The local management just do what they are told," he said angrily.
Kmit also had harsh words for the Conservative government about the layoffs.
"Wake up Harper. Or is it that you and Clement just don't give a damn?"