Glencore Empire Announces Closure of Belledune Lead Smelter
in New Brunswick
Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Locked-out workers from Belledune picket Glencore properties in Montreal November 13, 2019.
The Glencore global empire in a surprise attack issued
a statement on November 13 announcing the permanent closure of the
Belledune Lead Smelter plant it controls. The 420 workers at the
smelter, local townspeople, officials and politicians were not
consulted and received the news with utter shock. No discussion of the
in advance while in fact many in the region believed that the recent
investment in an acid plant at the smelter signalled a continuation of
production for the foreseeable future.
and eighty members of USW Local 7085 have been locked out of the
Belledune Smelter since April 24. They were in Montreal picketing
Glencore properties to explain their situation to fellow workers when
they received the news. Glencore has been demanding concessions from
them that would weaken the workers' health and safety regime at the
Needless to say, the news of the shutdown was like a
dagger to the heart of all concerned, as the small community of 1,400
in northern New Brunswick has very little other employment. The loss of
associated work and direct reproduced-value with the final closure at
the end of the year will be a great blow to the town and region.
The area has suffered two major shutdowns in recent
years. Xstrata, which is now part of the Glencore Empire, closed its
nearby lead/zinc Brunswick Mine in 2013 resulting in a loss of over 900
jobs. Prior to that in 2005, the Smurfit-Stone corrugated paper mill in
neighbouring Bathurst shut down with a loss of almost 500 jobs. Workers
at those two sites and the Belledune smelter have produced enormous
quantities of added-value over the years, most of which has not been
invested in the region but rather seized and removed by the global
financial oligarchy as private profit, leaving the local economy
Working people in New Brunswick and across Canada are
commenting that these actions, which put the private interests of the
international financial oligarchy ahead of all other considerations and
turn the lives of people upside down, are no way to run a modern
economy. These workplaces are the economic foundation of a community
people and future. Decisions about the economy and its extended
reproduction, diversity and stability are everyone's concern and it is their right
to have a say and to chart a course forward. A new direction for the
economy is necessary and the organized working people and their allies
must bring it into being.
This article was published in
Number 27 - November 20, 2019
Glencore Empire Announces Closure of Belledune Lead Smelter : Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!