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Shipping of Aluminum Halted

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Shipping of Aluminum Halted

Aluminum smelter in Straumsvík.

The Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter, Straumsvík. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Shipping of aluminum from Rio Tinto Alcan in Straumsvík was halted on midnight, RÚV reports. A labor court ruled last night that the shipping ban was legal. The halting of shipping operations of aluminum has no time limit. The ban halts work for 12 employees.

Gylfi Ingvarsson, a spokesman for workers at the aluminum smelter, was interviewed on RÚV rás 2 radio this morning, as was Ólafur Teitur Guðnason, a public relations officer for Rio Tinto Alcan.

Gylfi told RÚV he hoped the shipping ban would encourage negotiators in the labor dispute to come back to the table. The limited strike entails that no aluminum will be shipped from the smelter. The main demand, he said, is that subcontractors, if hired, will be paid the same as others.

Ólafur Teitur claimed there was no indication the union planned to give in to Rio Tinto Alcan’s demands that more projects be subcontracted. “We don’t foresee when we’ll be able to sell our product,” he stated. In light of the fact that the strike has no time limit, and there is no willingness on behalf of the union to allow us to hire more subcontractors, “the only logical thing is to start thinking about reducing production,” he stated.

RÚV quotes Ólafur as saying that management is planning to step into the jobs of the striking workers. The union had previously claimed that only the CEO and the operations manager could step in, but those two insist a group of managers can step in, too.

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