August 30, 2014 7:45 pm

Saskatchewan Cameco uranium mine workers locked out

Cameco shuts down its largest uranium mine after a labour dispute with United Steelworkers Local 8914.

File / Global News

SASKATOON – Cameco’s largest uranium mine is currently closed after a labour dispute with the United Steelworkers Local 8914.

The union said they were going on strike at 12:01 a.m. Saturday; in response, Cameco issued a lockout notice.

Production has been suspended at McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill operations in northern Saskatchewan.

Cameco said it presented its final offer to the union bargaining committee Thursday, asking for a vote on it.

The company said the committee rejected the offer.

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In a statement, lead negotiator for the United Steelworkers (USW) Mike Pulak stated, “after all the efforts made to find a fair resolve to bargaining, it was incredibly disappointing that in the final hours leading up to the deadline.”

“The company’s only concern was to demand 24 additional workers to be added to the essential services list to finish off a production raise underground over the next few weeks.”

Workers on remote sites have now been flown home.

“When you embark on a shut down, it’s not just turning off one switch. There are a number of things that have to take place, and the shutdown has to take place in a safe and orderly manner,” said Rob Gereghty, Cameco spokesperson.

“So we had 72 hours to do it and we did accomplish that,” he explained.

535 unionized workers at the sites have been without a contract since last December.

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