Union workers at the Rio Tinto plant in Alma have approved a new four-year collective agreement, six months before their existing one was set to expire.
The 650 workers are spread among three units: factory workers, office workers and police-firefighters. The three voted between 89 to 100 per cent in favour of the contract, according to the Syndicat des métallos union, affiliated with the FTQ.
The negotiations did not include salary or pension issues, since those are already governed by a continual adjustment clause that automatically makes changes depending on the situation of the industry, the union said.
Both the union and employer were happy with the new deal.
“The employer and union representatives wanted to conclude win-win deals while preparing for the future,” Rio Tinto said. “These deals are good news for the employees and the region” as the industry is hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and threats of new aluminum tariffs from the United States.
Union local president Sylvain Maltais said relations with the employer have evolved since 2012. “A more constructive relationship was established with time,” he said, and the latest round of negotiations confirmed it.
The union accepted to reopen its existing contract in 2018 in exchange for investments in a new factory. The project was abandoned, making the new deal moot.