September 16, 2008 / 12:29 PM / 12 years ago

Union ratifies deal with Vale Inco in Manitoba

TORONTO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Unionized workers at Vale Inco Ltd’s VALE5.SA Thomson, Manitoba, nickel operations voted in favor a new three-year contract deal that would see pay increases and cost of living adjustments.

Base wages will increase by 3 percent, effective on Tuesday, and 2.5 percent in 2009, as well as a 2 percent increase in 2010, the United Steelworkers union said late on Monday.

The average total increase of the contract, including current cost of living adjustments roll-in, will be 13.7 percent, and the deal maintains the employees’ nickel bonus and provides for a C$5,000 ($4,673) signing bonus for union members.

The agreement also contains new provisions, which include pension and insurance improvements, medical emergency financial support and maternity leave.

The union voted 65.5 percent in favor of the new deal, which represents 1,286 members, the union said.

The agreement is a “good first step,” Les Ellsworth, president of local 6166, said in a statement.

“We hope that the way these negotiations have been conducted will help set the stage for bargaining at Vale Inco’s Ontario operation,” Ellsworth said.

Negotiations at Vale Inco in Sudbury, Ontario, will take place in the spring of next year.

Vale Inco’s Thomson operations consist of three mines, a mill, a smelter and a refinery, which yields about 130 million pounds of pure nickel each year.

Vale Inco, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, acquired Inco in 2006. ($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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