Rio Tinto and Unifor Local 2301 met in Vancouver on 23 August. Both parties had an open and frank discussion about the long-term changes needed for our smelter to be a sustainable and respectful workplace for all.
We started to describe our shared vision for the future of BC Works. The importance of a significant reset and cultural change based on mutual trust is recognised as paramount. We all want to build an environment where the entire workforce feels listened to, cared for and reflect proudly on their workplace and the contribution they make.
Everyone should feel involved, included and work in an environment where issues that arise are resolved as early as possible. Leaders and members show courage in addressing issues without unnecessary escalation. Formalization of grievances should be the exception. We all want to work in roles that we are properly trained and prepared for, while operating assets that are healthy and stable.
Starting 24 August, we have returned to the bargaining table to resume negotiations. Our conversations will tackle the outstanding issues. If successful, Rio Tinto and Unifor Local 2301 will develop a plan to return to work that will guide what needs to be done from the time an agreement is reached until we ramp up to full production with all pots back in operation.
Together we are committed to negotiating in good faith, ensuring that we maintain open minds in understanding each other’s concerns. We are pursuing a collective agreement that will provide a foundation for respect in the workplace, a stable, sustainable and high-performance smelter.
We recognize that considerable other work is required in parallel to set the conditions for a successful return to work. In progressing this planning and preparation we hold our past and present employees, their families and host communities in front of mind.