TORONTO – Alcoa Corp and the United Steelworkers have agreed to resume contract talks with a government-appointed conciliator, the union said on Thursday, averting a potential strike at the Becancour, Quebec aluminium smelter.
The collective agreement for 1 030 unionised workers expired late Wednesday night, putting workers in a legal strike position. A majority of workers had earlier voted to reject the company's contract offer and give their union a strike mandate.
The contract included a two-tier pension plan that is less favourable to new workers and demanded concessions on seniority rights, the union said.
Becancour produces 430 000 t of aluminium annually, Alcoa said. Combined with the company's Deschambault and Baie-Comeau smelters in Quebec, total annual production capacity is nearly one-million metric tonnes of ingots, plates and billets, Alcoa said.
Alcoa owns 74.95% of Becancour with Rio Tinto Alcan holding 25.05%.