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Executive Council
October 8, 2010

Premier Urges Both Sides in VALE Strike to Resolve Issues; Next Step an Industrial Inquiry

On September 16, 2010 the Provincial Government appointed Bill Wells to serve as an independent mediator to help facilitate a resolution to the Voisey's Bay strike in Labrador. After making every effort to help the two sides resolve the issues between them, Mr. Wells announced that a resolution was not achievable through mediation and submitted his report to the province. Today, the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced that if the two sides do not come to a resolution within two weeks, the Provincial Government will convene an Industrial Inquiry Commission immediately.

"This situation has gone unresolved for far too long, and the impact upon the communities involved is not acceptable," said Premier Williams. "If the two sides do not resolve the situation and finalize an agreement within the next two weeks, I will ask the Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment to appoint an Industrial Inquiry Commission. I want to thank Mr. Wells for his dedication and commitment to assist in resolving the outstanding issues, however, despite some significant progress it appears that both sides remain unwilling to put to an end to this protracted strike. From our government's perspective, the time has come to take the next step; however, it is my hope that both sides will seriously consider the ramifications of an industrial inquiry and will instead choose to get back to the bargaining table and finally resolve this strike."

Contract negotiations have been ongoing between Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Limited and the United Steelworkers Local 9508 since the spring of 2009; and a strike has been ongoing since August 2009, despite long-term conciliation support from the Labour Relations Agency.

Under section 140 (1) and (2) of the Labour Relations Act, the Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, the Honourable Susan Sullivan, may refer matters to and appoint an Industrial Inquiry Commission in order to i) maintain or secure industrial peace and promote the settlement of disputes; or ii) where in an industry or difference between employers and employees exists or is apprehended. An Inquiry shall consist of one or more members appointed by the Minister and has the powers of a conciliation board under the Labour Relations Act. Between 1970 and 2010, there have been approximately 12 such inquiries appointed.

Minister Sullivan is informing both parties of the Provincial Government's intention.

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Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications

Office of the Premier

Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991

2010 10 08                                                     11:25 a.m.


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