A labour strike has forced Canada-based uranium producer Cameco to suspend production at its McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill operations in northern Saskatchewan.
Last week, the United Steelworkers union held discussions with Cameco over its intention to take industrial action at the mine.
Some of the issues raised by the union included pensions, benefits and compensation for working in remote regions.
Cameco presented its final offer to the union bargaining committee, requesting that for it to be submitted to the members for a vote; however, the committee rejected the offer, citing that it did not address a number of issues.
United Steelworkers staff representative and lead negotiator Mike Pulak said: “After all the efforts made to find a fair resolve to bargaining, it was incredibly disappointing that in the final hours leading up to the deadline, the company’s only concern was to demand 24 additional workers to be added to the essential services list to finish off a production raise underground over the next few weeks.
“That shows our members that Cameco cares about production first, second and third and their employees are an afterthought.”
Around 535 unionised employees could be affected by the suspension of work at the two operations.
The company said in a statement that: “The work stoppage is not expected to affect the company’s 2014 uranium delivery commitments to customers.”
However, if the strike continues, it could lead to an increase in uranium prices and have a negative impact on the company’s earnings, reported BNN.