Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat

Agreement with Unifor Local 2301 ends stand-off
Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat Rio Tinto makes deal to end two-month strike at Kitimat

Rio Tinto reaches deal to end strike

Rio Tinto has agreed with union officials to end a two-month strike at the aluminium Kitimat smelter and Kemano hydropower facility in British Columbia, Canada.

The company said it had signed a new Collective Labour Agreement to resume production at the BC Works following a vote by Unifor Local 2301 members.

The deal will affect approximately 950 workers, and Unifor Local 2301 said that 70.6% of the union's membership voted for the agreement in a bulletin.

Workers went on strike on 25 July 2021 after talks to resolve more than 300 disputes broke down, including proposed changes to workers' retirement income and benefit levels.

Since then, the Kitimat smelter has operated under an essential services order at 25% capacity. Its usual annual output is 432,000 tonnes.  

Rio Tinto said the agreements outline a "shared vision for a safe engaged, strong and competitive business" that it said will benefit employees, communities, the environment and stakeholders.

Rio Tinto BC Works general manager Affonso Bizon said the company's focus will now be on ensuring the return of workers resumption of production at the smelter is managed in a "safe and controlled manner".

The parties haven't released details but have confirmed they also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to search for ways of cooperating on a return-to-work protocol.