Labour trouble is brewing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the Canadian subsidiary of the global steel giant, with its slag-recycling workers on the warpath over contract terms.
The steelworkers at the company's plant at Hamilton near Toronto are employed by MultiServ, a Pennsylvania-based US company, which has a slag-recycling contract with ArcelorMittal Dofasco.
The steel workers have voted for strike after failing to reach an agreement over renewal terms for their contract. The contract for 150 of them expired July 4.
After voting for strike when the workers showed up for work at the plant Friday, they were "escorted out" of the plant by supervisors for MultiServ.
The workers said they came to work despite their decision to go on strike from July 4 because they wanted to resolve the issue with their employers.
Tony DePaulo, leader for United Steelworkers, said MultiServ wants to cut their wages by 15 percent and reduce pension and other benefits.
He said MultiServ "is a very profitable company that is using the current economic conditions as an excuse to make long-term and structural changes to their livelihood. This is just a snapshot of what's happening all over. There is no way the union is giving those concessions."
But a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania-based firm said they are "ready and willing to get back to the bargaining table and work together on an agreement that both of us can accept and which will preserve our price competitiveness in an increasingly cost-conscious steel industry that has been hit hard by the economic downturn."
Headquartered at Hamilton near here, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has operations in Canada, the US and Mexico. It produces hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanised, tinplate steels, tubular products and laser-welded blanks that are used in the auto, construction, energy, packaging and manufacturing sectors.
Its subsidiary, Quebec Cartier Mining Company (QCM), has extensive iron ore mining operations in Canada.
Originally known as Dofasco Inc., it merged with the global steel giant to become its subsidiary in North America.