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Locked-Out Canadian Steelworkers Travel to Glencore AGM in Switzerland to Denounce Attacks on Rights

BELLEDUNE, N.B. – Shareholders attending Glencore's annual general meeting on Thursday, May 9, in Zug, Switzerland will be greeted by locked-out Canadian workers protesting the company's attacks on their health and safety and workplace rights.

Brunswick Smelter workers from New Brunswick will attend Glencore’s AGM to denounce the company’s latest attempts to force concessions on employees.

“We want Glencore shareholders to understand what this company is doing to our members, our families and our communities in Canada,” said Marty Warren, United Steelworkers (USW) Director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

“It is dangerous and unacceptable for a global corporation like Glencore to abuse its power to try to weaken workers’ health and safety, working standards and labour rights,” Warren said.

Glencore locked out 280 Brunswick Smelter workers – members of USW Local 7085 – on April 24, upending negotiations for a new collective agreement.

“Years of sacrifices by workers and their families have not been reciprocated with good-faith behaviour by Glencore, at the bargaining table or in the workplace,” said USW Local 7085 President Bart Dempsey.

“For years our members have accepted concessions and worked with Glencore to help make our smelter a success. In return, Glencore has responded with a management culture that has become increasingly hostile towards its workers and, of course, demands for more concessions,” Dempsey said.

“That’s what this lockout is all about. Rather than negotiate a fair collective agreement,  Glencore has decided to lock out its employees to try to force concessions on our health and safety protections, our union representation, our pensions and benefits,” he said.

IndustriALL Global Union, the international labour federation representing over 50 million workers, including USW members, is supporting the Canadian workers and is demanding that Glencore end the lockout and resume negotiations.

IndustriALL is awaiting a response from Glencore after reaching out to the company to set up a meeting with the USW delegation attending the AGM, said Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL’s Director of Mining, Gems, Ornaments and Jewelry Production.

“We are urging Glencore’s corporate office in Baar, Switzerland, to end the lockout and commit to a negotiated settlement with its Canadian workers,” Mpufane said.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Lawrence McKay, USW Area Co-ordinator, Atlantic Canada, 506-857-0999, 506-232-8472, lmckay@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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