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Quebec Steelworkers to Protest at Noranda AGM in Toronto

SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, Que. – Employees on strike at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., plan to make their voices heard at Noranda Income Fund’s Annual General Meeting on April 28 in Toronto.

Protest plans for the Noranda AGM were announced by Syndicat des Métallos (United Steelworkers) Quebec Director Alain Croteau on Thursday during a rally by more than 400 demonstrators outside the CEZinc plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

“If CEZinc management continues to ignore the proposals of its workers, we will take the necessary steps to be heard by the people who make the decisions,” Croteau said.

“We have gone to London and to Australia in the past to stand up to multinationals that have provoked labour disputes with our members, so we don’t mind a short trip to Toronto to expose this corporation’s behaviour,” he said.

Striking employees from the CEZinc refinery were joined for Thursday’s demonstration by members of several Quebec unions, including CSN labour federation members from the Glencore-owned Horne smelter in Rouyn-Noranda. The CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is co-owned by Noranda Income Fund and Glencore.

“From the very beginning of this dispute, we have suspected there is something fishy about the company’s behaviour,” said Manon Castonguay, President of Steelworkers Local 6586, representing the 370 striking workers at the CEZinc refinery.

“We have to wonder if the shareholders really have a clear understanding of this situation. One thing is certain, they will be hearing from us, very clearly, through the walls of their meeting room in Toronto,” Castonguay said.

The CEZinc employees are into the seventh week of their strike, provoked mainly by the company’s demands for major pension concessions and its refusal to consider efficiencies and cost-cutting alternatives proposed by the union.

The Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy.

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For further information:

Clairandrée Cauchy, Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers Communications, 514-774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca

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Clairandrée Cauchy
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