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January/February 2006

After many months of bargaining, unionized workers at BHP Billiton’s Ekati Mine could walk off the job in February.

Union leaders have asked members to vote for a strike in advance of attempts at Federal Mediation, a statement said.

“This employer (BHP) has been unresponsive, indifferent, and just plain disrespectful when it comes to serious negotiations on wages, seniority, and job security,” says Todd Parsons, President of the Union of Northern Workers. “They brag about being in the top 100 companies across Canada but they don’t practice what they preach.”

The PSAC/UNW represent approximately 450 workers at this mine and have been bargaining with BHP since early last year to reach an agreement.

“A strong strike vote sends a message to the federal Mediation Officer and BHP Billiton that our members mean business and they support their bargaining team,” says Jean-François Des Lauriers, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President.

According to reports, the talks have gone well on non-monetary issues, but wages and job security remain a sticking point.

A Federal mediator will come in February to try and resolve the impasse next month, according to Canadian news reports.

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