The union representing workers at the shuttered Ekati mine has expressed disappointment that Dominion Diamond Mines didn’t first inform its employees about the failure of the Ekati assets purchase deal on Oct. 9.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Union of Northern Workers said details about the failure of the sale to affiliates of Dominion’s parent The Washington Companies were circulated through a Canada-wide press release before local management or the UNW could inform workers.
“For our members to receive such news – on the eve of a holiday weekend – via the media before hearing from the employer directly is unacceptable,” said UNW President Todd Parsons.
The Ekati mine workers are members of UNW Local 3050.
Parsons added that news of the purchase agreement deal falling through is “concerning” to its members and for the NWT economy.
“The unfortunate news released late last week by the employer is a major setback in what was looking to be a promising restart to their operations and getting our brothers and sisters back to work,” said Kurt Bergstrom, regional vice-president of UNW, and a worker at Ekati. “I want to assure our members that the union will continue to reach out to the employer and put workers’ best interests at the forefront.”
Dominion closed the Ekati mine in March due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic. It filed for insolvency about a month later.
The company has previously expressed hope that Ekati could return to full operations by the fourth quarter of 2020.
NNSL Media has asked Dominion for further comment since Friday’s announcement and is awaiting a response.
Parsons questioned the accountability that corporations have in relation to Northerners.
“What are our leaders putting in place to protect our workers and our economy from corporate entities with no personal stake in our future and who answer to no one but their shareholders? Where is the due diligence to ensure that hardworking Northerners and their families aren’t left out in the cold?” Parsons asked. “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many sectors. It’s very frustrating, as a union, to have to sit on the sidelines and watch billion-dollar corporations play monopoly with people’s lives.”