CEZinc Steelworkers in Australia to Build Labour Solidarity

QUEENSLAND, Australia, Oct. 17, 2017 - A delegation of Quebec Steelworkers representing striking employees at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is in Australia building a solidarity campaign for workers under attack by multinational resource giant Glencore.

The Quebec delegation, representing members of United Steelworkers Local 6486 who have been on strike at CEZinc since February, includes Steelworkers union representative Luc Julien and Local 6486 executive member Maurice Vallée.

The Quebec Steelworkers met today with workers at the Oaky North coal mine in Queensland state who have been locked out by Glencore since June. The 190 locked-out workers are members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

Glencore also is the principal shareholder of Noranda Income Fund, the operator of the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que.

"No matter where you are, whether it's Australia or Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Glencore's greed and its determination to weaken worker solidarity are common issues facing working people. But in Australia as in Quebec, corporations such as Glencore and its progeny Noranda Income Fund are meeting a wall of resistance from the solidarity, resilience and pride of workers," said Julien.

As negotiations with Noranda Income Fund remain at a standstill, the Quebec Steelworkers are building global solidarity with Glencore workers in several countries.
The 371 striking Steelworkers at CEZinc voted by a 97% majority on Oct. 2 to reject a company offer that was virtually the same concessionary offer that triggered the strike last February.

"Management negotiators like to tell us that this conflict will be resolved in Quebec. They're quite right, but they need to have a real mandate to negotiate," Julien said.

"They appear to want to keep us in Quebec, even though nothing is happening at the bargaining table, because we're disrupting things abroad. Workers are standing up and building ties and this bothers them. These are workers who are refusing to give in to a multinational corporation intent on breaking them. They are not alone; we are not alone."

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