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Home > Sectors > Mining > Xstrata > Xstrata Nickel Unit Chair Report - October 2007

Xstrata Nickel Unit Chair Report - October 2007

Posted: October 19, 2007
By: Richard Paquin

Hope everyone had a safe and happy summer. Things have been fairly quiet
over the summer months.

Many issues have been discussed and some have been resolved and a
summary of what those issues are explained later.

On a positive note, the Company and our Stewards and Chief Stewards have
been working hard at resolving the issues at the sites with the griever and the
Company. It is working well since we only have a handful of grievances since
January of this year.

In September, we had one session of Med-Arbs where we presented 5 cases to
the Arbitrator and we were successful in reaching a settlement on four of them.
Another reminder that as of April 1st, 2007, contractors are no longer allowed to
be part of a crew, under our supervision or using our tools, following our shift
schedule, etc., unless they meet certain criteria established under the arbitrator’s
ruling. We are still working on making this transition as trouble-free as possible.
This will reduce the amount of contractors on our crew.

The Company is still hiring mine and Smelter labours and Skilled Trades people.
They are growing and it is good news for all. So far this year we have hired over
150 employees.

The Union has reinvested some of its money with the Northern Credit Union and
as a result of this, the following plan has been agreed to for all Mine Mill 598
members and pensioners. If you require more info, a brochure is available at the
Union Hall.

Here are some highlights of this plan.

  • Better interest rates on mortgages, loans and investments
  • Free transactions and withdrawals, travellers cheques, etc...

Here is an update on all remaining outstanding issues.

Skilled Trades Rate Review:

  • An Agreement has been reached between the Union and the Company that
    will finally put this issue at rest. Every skilled trades employees will receive a
    2 (two) Job Class Rate increase ($.64) retroactive to Feb. 1, 2007. We have
    requested that payment be made as soon as possible.

We would like to thank the membership for their patience on this matter. This
increase will also apply to the full time JHSC representatives, Coordinator and
also the Union Officers as per the Collective Agreement.

Orthotics Coverage:

After careful consideration and extensive review of the Letter of Understanding
on this issue that was signed at negotiation, the language in the letter does not
allow us a fair opportunity to challenge this at Arbitration, therefore we have no
alternative but to defer this issue. Unfortunately it is not what we were hoping for
but it will surely be a hot item in the next round of negotiation.

Collective Agreements are always a live and growing document and we cannot,
because of this setback, forget all good things that were negotiated last
February. We will build on this and carry the motion forward. The year 2010 is
rapidly approaching and your Bargaining Committee will be as ready as it can to
negotiate an even better collective agreement.


There is currently a grievance that will be going to Arbitration on the “Duty to
Accommodate” an injured worker. The date is set for March of 2008.


  • A direct difference has been filed challenging the Company of placing
    employees on unfilled postings before the posting process is completed. This
    is closing the door to our employees that would have liked to bid on a posting
    at the Other Business Unit. Since then many meeting have been held to try to
    resolve this issue. The Company has committed to posting all unfilled jobs in
    the other business unit. This should eliminate the problem were unposted
    people were being placed prior to completing the posting process.


Training by seniority; training matrix is being developed at some sites
to ensure training is being done by seniority, by who normally performs the work
within line of progression. This process is progressing slowly.


Every member should have had received by now an updated benefit
and pension booklet. We are meeting the Company to review our disability
management program. We are also looking at our drug benefits.

If you have any questions or wish to communicate any issue you may have,
contact your Chief Steward or this office.

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