Canadian Manufacturing

Union calls on company to halt layoffs at Goderich, Ont. salt mine ahead of talks

Unifor said Compass Minerals handed out lay-off noticed to 48 workers last week ahead of collective bargaining negotiations

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GODERICH, Ont.—Unifor is calling on Compass Minerals to pause job cuts at its salt mine in Goderich, Ont. ahead of collective bargaining talks.

The union says the company gave lay-off notices to about 48 workers last week, while the Local 16-O union has given notice to bargain for March 5 and has filed for conciliation.

Unifor says that laying off 10 per cent of the mine’s workforce two weeks before bargaining is a very aggressive move and that the company is “acting like an employer itching for major job action.”

The union says it also has serious concerns over how Compass has acted, accusing the company of encouraging workers to take severance packages that would cancel their right to be recalled if production at the mine increases.

The Kansas-based company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Unifor’s accusations, but said previously that the cuts are part of a years-long restructuring that includes a shift to a mining method that is safer and requires fewer employees.

Compass, which bought the Goderich mine in 1990, says the operation located 550 metres under Lake Huron is the largest underground salt mine in the world with the product being mostly used for winter road maintenance.

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