It's Our Turn -- No Concessions!

The locked-out New Brunswick smelter workers are not intimidated by the actions of Glencore. They have put the slogan "It's Our Turn -- No Concessions" on their website and are calling on the working people to unite behind their just cause. They say that they have already made huge concessions over the last three contracts, especially in the 2014 contract, just after the Glencore empire seized control of the former owners, Xstrata. The increased global power and the concessions reluctantly accepted by workers in recent contracts, workers say have emboldened the oligarchs not only to demand more and more but to crush the union, silence their voice and establish a labour relations climate marked by open hostility towards the workers and contempt for their health and safety.

"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," he added.

Dempsey told Workers' Forum that experience has shown that in no way can workers entrust their health and safety to Glencore management. This has been proven once again in practice by the company's demand that the fulltime position of the union's health and safety representative be reduced to a parttime position and deprived of his current office in the plant to meet fellow workers.

Workers reject the company slander that workers with their resistance against further concessions are "disconnected from the global market in which the smelter is trying to survive." Workers have direct experience that concessions imposed by the company have worsened all aspects of life at the plant and in retirement and that those concessions have whetted the appetite of the beast for more. Besides, workers point out, they have no control over the global market, its mindless anti-people competition and the adventures of the oligopolies to realize their aim of narrow private profit. The anti-people aim and actions of the global oligopolies such as Alcoa, GM and Glencore have nothing to do with bringing prosperity to any nation. They merely enrich those whose unscrupulous swindles win out in the short-term and then they need another swindle to remain "in business." Workers can in no way base their aspirations, actions and demands for security and what belongs to them by right on the anarchy and violence which accompanies the global competition of the oligopolies. Glencore's refusal to negotiate is a form of violence as well. With the connivance of the courts and other state institutions, as well as governments, such narrow private interests extort what they want without any regard for the lives of the people whose safety they threaten. The workers' cause is just and deserves the support of all Canadians.

(Photos: USW District 6, WF)

This article was published in

Number 17 - May 9, 2019

Article Link:
It's Our Turn -- No Concessions!


Website:   Email: