Lockout at Glencore's Smelter in Belledune, New Brunswick

Struggle Continues Against Glencore's Anti-Worker Concessionary Demands

May 8 marked the end of the second week of the Glencore Brunswick Smelter workers' job action in Belledune. The 281 production and maintenance workers, members of USW Local 7085, are united in action to defend their rights against the mining and metallurgy Glencore's demand for anti-worker concessions.

As is now becoming routine for global oligopolies such as Glencore to show their arrogance and refusal to negotiate, it locked out the workers before their announced strike was to begin in the evening, under the hoax of protecting the safety of the plant. With the sudden and unannounced lockout, Glencore revealed that it had been long preparing to attack the workers. On April 24, the day it locked out the workers, the global monopoly sought a court order from the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, which it obtained on April 26, limiting the number of picketers to six at the entrances or exits of the smelter and at any other geographical location in New Brunswick where it conducts business. The court also ordered the workers not to obstruct in any way any movement of employees, customers, suppliers and others to and from the plant or to "harass" them, including a prohibition of taking photographs. Glencore soon followed up this court order obtaining a second one making it "illegal" for picketers to conceal their identity, including by covering their faces.

The global monopoly further revealed its intention to refuse to negotiate and provoke a strike or lockout by having already organized "strike security teams" that are reported to be housed in fancy hotels and provided with vehicles for the duration of the strike/lockout. The monopoly had also hired scab labour from Quebec to drive the trucks bringing mined concentrate into the smelter.

These conscious preparations are not the activity of a company with intentions of negotiating a contract that workers can find acceptable. The global oligopoly with the backing of the state and using its vast social wealth and power is showing its fangs and anti-worker hatred with this attempt to impose its dictate and drive down the working and living conditions of workers.

(Photos: USW District 6)

This article was published in

Number 17 - May 9, 2019

Article Link:
Lockout at Glencore's Smelter in Belledune, New Brunswick: Struggle Continues Against Glencore's Anti-Worker Concessionary Demands


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