RIOTINTO ALCAN PUTS COST SAVINGS AHEAD OF SAFETY IN LINE 1-8 RE-ORGANIZATION

If you have had the chance to read the Company’s Ingot Spot News, Lines 1-8 Reorganization then you have experienced and excellent example of “Company BS” and we don’t mean behaviour base safety.

The closest the Company came to fulfilling their obligations under 26-LU-#5 of the CLA was the creation of the focus group. The process went down hill as time went on. It appears the Company entered into this process with a structure designed to reduce 16 positions from Lines 1 to 8 and justification was not required as far as they were concerned.
Right from the beginning and throughout several meetings, the Union Focus Group raised numerous questions revolving around safety, manpower levels and job structure. The following are just some of the issues raised:

  • Why is the Tool Crib a separate focus group when some of his duties are being put on other people in the same area?
    -Company responded that Tool Crib was a separate initiative.

  • Same for Pot Room Control and Maintenance – these groups impact our focus group directly.
    -No response by Company.

  • Open requisitions – no comments given on filling openings current and new?
  • Problems with areas in focus group not being addressed including: floors, equipment, cranes, ore quality, gas-skirts, basements, anode tops, sick pots, micro-e’s, equipment availability.
    -Company never commented on improving conditions.

  • Question regarding metal flow now addressed (consistency & structure).
    -No response by Company.

  • Question regarding mandatory PPE and general exposure in the area were not addressed by the Company in anyway.
  • Concerns over open-ended workloads and non-structured workloads were raised with no response.
  • Concerns about using average workloads in an area when there are extreme differences, building-to-building grossly uneven workloads and exposures.
    -No response by company.

  • Company was asked about ergonomics in the cranes in Lines 1 and 2 over repetitive movements. Stats showed us pulling 90 studs the amount of First Aid visits were way higher than 60 studs. The Company wants to go back to 90 studs when the stats clearly proved this level was injuring our members in the past.
    -No response.

  • Union asked for exposure control plans for all jobs in focus group none given by Company.
  • The Union asked how does the Company see a typical day under the Company’s proposal hour by hour and completing the full scope of the job safely and by standard practise?
    -Company response was they would let the employees figure it out.

  • Poking – age of people, summer students, temps, availability of people to do the work, structure and size of crew, no response by the Company.
  • Numerous time allotments do not reflect doing the job by standard practice in a safe manner.
    -The company never responded.

  • Basement cleaning given to support/equipment op. in emergency situation when the question was brought up why are the basements not cleaned and kept clean all the time.
    -No response by the company.

  • Metal measure and other duties that were not included.
    -The Company had no response.

As you can see the Company was not interested in justifying any of their proposed restructuring. Clearly the Company did not act in good faith throughout the process. It’s hard to believe the Company can look anyone in the eye and say safety first when so many safety questions remain unanswered.
At the last joint meeting of the Focus Group on March 11/09 the Company told the Union they felt they had met all their obligations under 26-LU-5 and that the crew reps had to go back to their regular shift.
The Union strongly disagreed and elaborated on the reasons why. We felt that the WCB should complete their investigation next week and then reconvene the Focus Group to review their findings.
The Company at that point never even took any time to consider that proposition but just responded back quote “You heard our position”. I guess the end justifies the means with these guys. It was obvious that all the Company was interested in was reducing Union positions and couldn’t care less about the safety of our membership. Well the Union cares and will fight this in every possible way.

A grievance will be filed immediately and we will also play and active role when the WCB Officers come in to the plant next week.

The Company has some nerve. They can find the money to create new staff positions for people out of the Modernization Project Team and they can find the money to give themselves staff bonuses last week but they won’t replace badly needed manpower (hourly paid jobs) to properly maintain Kitimat Works.

“FIGHTING BACK MAKES A DIFFERENCE” and our Union CAW Local 2301 will not take this insult sitting down.

The Company may save a quarter but we will make them spend a dollar justifying it. The health and safety of our Union brothers and sisters is not for sale.