The jobs of 150 entry-level workers at the Ekati diamond mine have been saved as mine owner Dominion and the Union of Northern Workers reached a deal.
The two parties made the announcement in a joint news release on Tuesday. They said the “tentative agreement” would end Dominion’s threat to contract out the positions over high absenteeism at the mine.
The terms of that agreement were not published. Both the mine and the union said they would not elaborate on the details beyond the wording in their joint statement, which claimed the agreement “will see changes that both parties feel will address their respective concerns.”
Quoted in the statement, union leader Todd Parsons said: “We are pleased that we have been able to agree on an alternative approach that saves our members’ jobs.
“The tentative agreement will provide job security for all our bargaining unit members since the agreement also includes the terms for a new collective agreement that will be in effect through May 2022.”
Patrick Evans, Dominion’s chief executive, said in the same statement: “This is a good day for Ekati and its employees. Our preference is that our own employees perform the surface mining operations work and the new agreement allows us to do this, while ensuring we are able to control our costs by addressing the longstanding absenteeism issues and improve the morale and productivity of our employees.”
The announcement comes just over a month after Dominion first warned it may contract out work and cut positions, and 10 days after the mine owner rejected an initial proposal from the union to resolve the issue.
The deal will be finalized by July 25.
Dominion operates the Ekati mine, in which it has a controlling interest, and also owns 40 percent of the neighbouring Diavik mine. The Union of Northern Workers represents almost 500 workers at Ekati.