For the first time in four decades, miners at HudBay Mineral’s mines in Flin Flon and Snow Lake, Winneipeg walked off the job in strike, the Winnipeg FreePress reported.
About 180 HudBay Minerals mechanics, pipefitters and machinists walked off the job after the latest round of negotiations failed to reach a contract.
The company issued a statement on May 2 confirming the strike action started at noon. HudBay said production would go on despite the strike.
"A comprehensive contingency plan is in place, and the company expects operations to continue and production guidance to be maintained. The striking workers represent about 12 percent of Hudbay’s 1,460-person Manitoba workforce," HudBay said in its statement.
Wages and pensions are reported to be the main points of the dispute, and the company said it’s willing to go back to the table anytime.
"HudBay sought a mutually negotiated agreement over several months and does not believe the strike action is necessary. HudBay remains committed to the bargaining process and hopes the union leadership will engage in good faith negotiations."
The International Association of Machinists, local 1848, said in a statement the bargaining process "never stood a chance," adding the proposed wage increases would still leave workers being paid less than apprentices and certified trades workers at sites in The Pas and Thompson.
"From the beginning, management’s attitude toward us has been hostile," IAM grand lodge representative Ian Morland said in the statement, posted on the local’s website.
"We offered to assist management with a controlled shutdown of all operations in the event a strike, but they rejected this offer outright. They believe they can run the equipment without us. But we repair and maintain this equipment, and it will break down if it is not maintained properly. This could have been avoided."
HudBay’s website states the 777 mine in Flin Flon produces zinc, copper, gold and silver. Commercial production began in 2004, and the mine is expected to continue until 2020. In Snow Lake, a concentrator processes ore from the same minerals in the nearby Lalor mine. The refurbished Snow Lake concentrator was commissioned in the third quarter of 2014 and now has the capacity to treat 2,700 tonnes per day.