Unifor Local 3018 members working at Gibraltar Mine have voted 98 per cent to strike, said union president Curtis Finley Thursday.
“We are going to meet with the company early next week,” Finley said. “Hopefully we can get back to the table and get back to bargaining. If the company still stands strong that there nothing more they can add to the proposal we will issue 72-hours notice.”
A strike mandate could be the next step in a contract dispute at the Gibraltar Mine.
The union representing more than 500 workers at the Taseko Mine Ltd. operation is holding strike vote meetings in Williams Lake and Quesnel this week and next after a tentative agreement was ‘overwhelmingly’ turned down by Unifor Local 3018 in votes taken earlier this month and late last month.
“We’ve gone back to the company, talks have broken down, and the local is in the process of holding strike vote meetings and getting a strike vote,” Unifor Local 3018 president Curtis Finley said Thursday. “Because of how the shifts work on site, we will be holding more than one meeting just to accommodate everyone. As well, with the COVID-19 restrictions it limits the amount of people we can have at one meeting.”
Finley said the local is willing to meet with the company to try and resolve the issue without any labour dispute.
“The company knows what the hang-up is and what is holding this up,” he said noting he did not want to disclose any details at this point.
Sean Magee, vice-president of corporate affairs, said Gibraltar management has been engaged in the collective bargaining process with representatives of the union for the past several months.
“Productive discussions toward a new collective agreement are ongoing,” Magee said. “We fully respect the union’s position and the exercise of its collective bargaining rights, including the right to seek a strike mandate.”
Magee said the company remains committed to completing a new agreement at the bargaining table and is confident that a deal will “ultimately be reached that is fair and rewarding for all parties.”
Finley said the union’s meetings will continue into next week. After that he will have an answer on what will happen next.
Of the 700 people working at Gibraltar, about 530 are unionized employees.