Strike closes potline at Quebec smelter (July 13, 2004)

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa (AA-N) will curtail production to two from three potlines at its Becancour aluminum smelter in Quebec, where employees represented by the Syndicat des Employees de l’Aluminerie de Becancour have been on strike since early July.

The move will reduce production at the facility by 11,000 tonnes per month, or to 270,000 from 403,000 tonnes per year.

The company planned for the possibility of a strike and developed a contingency plan that involved shutting down one potline. A staff of 100 is managing and operating the smelter.

More than 800 unionized workers went on strike in a dispute over job security, pensions and contracting out. Alcoa said its latest offer included a wage increase of 11% over four years. About 88% of Becancour’s workers voted against that offer after the previous agreement expired.

Alcoa is the world’s largest producer of primary aluminum and owns 75% of the smelter, 150 km northeast of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River. Montreal-based Alcan owns the remainder.


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