Employees at the Horne copper smelter in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., voted 73% to reject NORANDA's latest offer last week. The 510 workers have been on strike since June 18, 2002. What the company called the "final" offer included salary and pension increases of 9.6% and 12.5% respectfully over the life of the new agreement, improvements to the benefits program, and special early-retirement programs.
The Horne smelter produced 188,000 tonnes Cu in 2001. It has been operated at 70% capacity by non-union workers and managers during the strike, and Noranda believes that rate can be maintained.