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  August 22, 2009

What it takes to be number one


The strike against Vale-Inco in Sudbury heats up as company threatens to use non-union labor
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The nickel miner strike in Sudbury, Canada is about to enter its seventh week, and there is no sign that the company, Vale, is willing to compromise on its demands for concessions. This despite the fact that the demand for nickel has surged causing the price to rise and Vale to default on at least one contract. Workers argue that the mine is hugely profitable, citing $4B profit made in Sudbury alone over the past two years, but as mining industry analyst Marin Katusa explains, being profitable is just not enough. "You have to be number one in all sectors," he says, referring to the requirements for victory in the global mining game, in which the winners are the ones who integrate all facets of the supply chain, not just mining, into their business. This requires extracting as much profit as possible in order to finance the necessary expansion into other sectors, lest be gobbled up by one's competitors. The union however, believes that the federal government of Canada ought to protect its people against such threats, and that work can be done to unify unions around the world to even the playing field.


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