Talks To Resume For Striking Goderich Mine Workers

Goderich salt mine picket line Tuesday, July 10th. (photo by Bob Montgomery)

The company that owns the Goderich salt mine and the union representing its striking workers are set to return to the bargaining table, ten weeks after miners walked off the job.

Unifor Local 16-0 and Compass Minerals will resume contract talks on Thursday at 9am, however, peaceful picketing at the Goderich mine is expected to continue.

“Compass Minerals is committed to negotiating a collective agreement and getting our employees back to work with an agreement that focuses on the safety of our employees in the current operational environment,” said Anthony Sepich, Compass Minerals’ senior vice president, salt.

A decision has also been made to allow “non-bargaining unit personnel” to have unimpeded access to the mine.

Frustrated by the company’s use of replacement workers, the miners set up a blockade last week to restrict access to the main road used during shift change.    The union has accused Compass Minerals of contracting Vic Progressive Drilling to fly in replacement workers from New Brunswick to weaken the union’s position.

A court order recently forced workers to remove the barrier, which consisted of large tractors and wooden pallets.

“Unifor is proud of the solidarity the members and our supporters have shown and we are going to work with Compass Minerals to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our members and their families,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

The main issues of the labour dispute, according to the union, have been mandatory overtime, reduced benefits, and weakening the contracting-out provisions in the collective agreement.

Unifor Local 16-0 represents 348 workers at the mine who have been on strike since April 27.