Hydro finance the lock-out at the Bécancour smelter, according to the united Steelworkers

News 19 March, 2018
  • Photo Simon Clark
    The approximately 1000 employees of the Bécancour smelter are locked out since the 11th of January last.

    Alain Laforest

    Monday, 19 march 2018, 19:52

    Monday, 19 march, 2018 20:31

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    BÉCANCOUR | lock-out since 11 January, the Steelworkers union, which represents the approximately 1000 employees of the Bécancour smelter (ABI), calls on the government Couillard to force the company to return to the negotiating table.

    The union, which commissioned a study to an analyst of energy, has stated that Hydro-Quebec is robbed of an income 604 $ 464 per day since the beginning of the strike. “ABI takes advantage of the conflict! Normally, at the level of the electricity, he should be penalized because he does not consume,” said Clément Masse, president of united Steelworkers of america 9700.

    Under a decree signed in December 2014, ABI is expected to pay for a block of energy that is reserved, but the company cites the case of force majeure provided for in its contract to not pay the invoice.

    “It has been said: “Act of God”, protested Dominic Lemieux, assistant to the director of the united Steelworkers Union. A flood, a fire, an earthquake, we could understand, but a lock-out, it is decreed by the employer.”

    “The problem that it raises is, “is this a lock-out, declared solely on the will of the employer, should be at the financial risk of the other party to the contract?” This is not the essence of a contract-sharing of risk”, assessed the energy expert, Jean-François Blain, who carried out the study.

    Since 11 January, the society of State would be deprived of $ 41.7 million, according to the analyst, an amount that could climb up to $ 220 million if the lockout lasts a year.

    Intervention claimed

    The Union asked the government Couillard to intervene. “The quebec government is telling us that this is a conflict privately, that it is not in the merge step, but to coup de 580 000 $ per day, I think it is in the public interest for the whole population and that the government could put pressure,” claimed Dominic Lemieux, of the united Steelworkers Union.

    Hydro-Québec has confirmed that the smelter has mentioned the clause of force majeure under its contract for not paying for a portion of the energy block that is reserved for it.