Vale said it had put forward a new five-year offer to settle the dispute, but that it had been rejected by the United Steelworkers union (USW), representing the 3200 strikers at Sudbury and Port Colborne.

The company said its offer included a revised nickel bonus, amended benefit and pension plans and cost of living increases as well as a Can$3000 bonus to return to work. “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated,” said John Pollesel, VP and general manager. “Unfortunately, the USW position continues to offer little hope of a settlement.”
The USW also expressed disappointment: Its local director Wayne Fraser said: “Over 11 consecutive days our bargaining committee presented several new proposals and made genuine, significant compromises on key issues.”
Vale rejected a union move to refer the dispute to binding local arbitration saying: “We are not interested in having a third party make fundamental business decisions affecting the future viability of the business.”
  • Vale Inco said last month it would restart production at its Voisey’s Bay, Labrador, nickel mine and associated processing facility located in Newfoundland despite an unresolved six-month strike over contract terms. The company said the decision had only been taken after long and careful thought”, and would use some 250 non-unionised staff. The restart, it said, would come when all had been trained.
  • Vale is of the world’s biggest iron ore and nickel producers. It reported 2009 earnings down nearly 60% from $13.5 billion in 2008 to $5.3 billion. However, fourth quarter earnings in 2009 showed a gain of 11% year-on-year to $1.5 billion.