June 1, 2006
Workers Reject Final Offer from Ekati Mine
The union representing striking workers at the Ekati diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories rejected the final offer from mine owner BHP Billiton on Wednesday, and Thursday filed unfair labor practices against the company.
The union filed its claim on charges that BHP Billiton illegally tried to remove parts of the offer that both parties had previously agreed on and pushed for a ratification process that interfered with the union's operations.
Reuters reports that talks broke off over employee protection clauses. Since 40% of employees have returned to work at the mine since the strike began in early April, BHP asked the union to revoke any fines it is charging those workers. The union refused the request.
The mine's final offer included an average annual salary increase of a minimum of 4% and a $1,000 (Canadian) back-to-work bonus for each employee.