Bloomberg News

Inco Workers Approve 3-Year Accord at Ontario Plants

May 31, 2006

Inco Ltd.'s unionized workers in Ontario endorsed a new labor contract that offered higher wages, a promise of no layoffs and a C$4,000 ($3,634) bonus, the United Steelworkers said today.

More than two-thirds of the approximately 3,300 workers who operate mines and plants in Sudbury and a nickel refinery in Port Colborne voted to accept the accord, according to Wayne Fraser, director for the union's Ontario and Atlantic provinces region. Negotiators for Toronto-based Inco and the Steelworkers agreed to the proposed contract on May 29, two days before the existing contract was to expire.

The contract ``provides a great future,'' Fraser said in an interview. ``We're pretty happy with the results.''

The three-year agreement offered hourly wage increases of more than C$2.50 over three years, higher life-insurance benefits and a C$3,300 minimum monthly pension for a retiring worker with 30 years of service, the union has said. The agreement guarantees no layoffs, whether Inco buys another company or is acquired.

``We thought we put forward a fair offer that met the needs of employees while allowing us to move forward with the business,'' Inco spokesman Cory McPhee said in an e-mail. ``Obviously the majority of our employees agreed.''

Inco has made a C$19.3 billion friendly takeover bid for Toronto-based Falconbridge Ltd., which also has mines and plants in Sudbury. Inco, which is itself facing a C$16.4 billion hostile takeover bid by Vancouver-based Teck Cominco, is in a bidding war for Falconbridge with Swiss miner Xstrata Plc. (XTA)

The shares of Inco rose C$1.06, or 1.5 percent, to $72.50 in Toronto Stock Exchange trading and have gained 44 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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