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REPORTING · 8th May 2012
Walter McFarlane

Kitimat Councillor Phil Germuth expressed displeasure with a blind side pulled by Rio Tinto Alcan which was announced on the Canadian Auto Workers Union 2301 Website on May 7th.

The website states the CAW represents 1150 workers at Rio Tinto Alcan. The document from the negotiations states this number was to decrease to 850 workers as of the collective agreement of 2007. However, the number of unionised workers in the modernized smelter could decrease as low as 699 workers.

“When you were elected Madame Mayor, one of your very first things was you wanted to build relations with Alcan. Absolutely and you and your Council did that for three years and did a great job,” said Germuth.

He stated all the variance permits Alcan wanted were prepared by the staff. They support the modernization project as a newly elected Council.

“We have been doing everything we can do to support this project,” said Germuth.

He stated when the Kitimat Council did their budget, they could have taxed Alcan an additional $7,000,000 but they decided not to even though it could have meant a new museum, City Hall or Fire Hall to replace the decaying infrastructure.

“And now we see they want to cut another three hundred of the best paying, with the best benefit jobs this community has ever had when they promised there were going to be 1000 jobs and now they are down to 700,” said Germuth.

He stated Council had a meeting with RTA a few months ago at the Rod and Gun and a question was asked why they were going ahead without the three conditions they had to have.

The Three Conditions, which we have previously reported on were: 1: The union had to sign a collective agreement. This was achieved in the summer of 2007. 2: Environmental approval of the project (as determined by Alcan). This was achieved in December 2007. 3: The BCUC must accept their power agreement. This was achieved in January 2008.

The question asked by Germuth was: “How do you think that not having this condition, the upcoming labour talks could affect the smelter.”

“We were told at the time: ‘Everything is going to be great, there isn’t going to be any problems at all,’” said Germuth.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan reminded Germuth they had a luncheon meeting with Rio Tinto Alcan planned with Alcan for Noon the next Day, Tuesday May 8th and asked him if he could bring that up there.

At the meeting, Council passed a motion to combine several parcels of Rio Tinto Alcan land into a single parcel of land for the construction of a cathode sealing building.

We contacted Germuth to find out how this luncheon meeting went and if his questions were answered. He was not available. We will update this article when we hear back from him.
Just "trust us" says council
Comment by Larry on 10th May 2012
Seeing is believing ''''
Sorry to Kit Daily readers
Comment by Philip Germuth on 8th May 2012
..... but our lunch meeting was expected to be confidential and out of respect for Mayor and council along with our hosts - RTA and Bechtel, I am honoring that commitment.

Without getting into any details all I will say is that the meeting went very well and we look forward to meeting again for future discussions.