A six-week-long strike will soon end at Alcoa’s Western Australia operations thanks to a new contract agreed to by the plants’ management and labor negotiators earlier this week.
According to a statement by the Australia Workers’ Union (AWU), work is to resume Monday at the three alumina refineries and two bauxite mines in the state, which have sat idle since the strike began on August 8.
The statement quoted AWU State Secretary Mike Zoetbrood as saying the new agreement adequately addresses the union’s fears over job security at the plants, which prior iterations of the agreement did not.
“Job security is incredibly important when you are operating in this kind of environment and that is what our members have secured with this deal.”
“There were a lot of dark periods over the past 52 days when we could have wavered,” Zoetbrood continued.
“But we held the line and this is the pay off.”
According to reporting, the deal contains a guarantee by Alcoa that it will not put laborers out of work by outsourcing their positions or filling them with temporary workers.
Though the union pledged to end the strike on Monday, the agreement is still subject to formal approval by the entire union body next month.
The facilities, which are owned by Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals subsidiary Alcoa of Australia Ltd, boast a nameplate capacity of 9 million metric tons per annum. However, Alcoa announced last month that production had been trimmed by 15 thousand metric tons.
The weeks-long work stoppage adds even more pressure to an already-overtaxed alumina market. Sanctions on Russia’s U.C. Rusal and state-mandated capacity cuts at Brazil’s Alunorte refinery have coupled to restrict alumina supplies, driving up prices for what little alumina remains for sale.