LONDON, May 21 -- Vale Inco and the United Steelworkers Union will meet May 25-26 to try and bring an end to the strikes at the primarily nickel operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Vale said late Wednesday.
In the meantime, Vale Inco said it will proceed in ramping up output at its sites there by hiring additional staff and using non-unionized workers.
Roughly 3,100 workers are on strike at the Canadian operations of Vale Inco, a subsidiary of Brazil's Vale SA (VALE). They began their action in July 2009 over issues such as the pension plan and bonuses related to the nickel price
"On May 25-26 Vale Inco Newfoundland & Labrador Ltd. and USW negotiating teams will meet again and we all hope for a resolution to the current strike," Vale Inco said.
"To date USW's approach has been to ensure our employees in Labrador and Newfoundland stay on strike until negotiations in Sudbury are resolved," VINL's general manager said. "VINL cannot count on USW's strategy changing and so we will move ahead with plans to increase production."
Workers at Vale Inco's Sudbury, Ontario, mine complex downed tools July 13 and those at its Voisey Bay complex in Newfoundland-Labrador followed suit two weeks later.
Vale's Sudbury operations produced 43,000 metric tons of nickel in 2009, 49% less than in 2008. Its Voisey's Bay mine in eastern Canada produced 40,000 tons, down 43% on year.
Repeated attempts at talks to end the strike have failed. As recently as this month talks initiated by an arbitrator broke down without a resolution and the independent arbitrator Kevin Burkett said no "pathway to settlement" existed at the time.