Mount Polley Mining Corp. has to pay lost wages to 26 employees they laid off early this year due to financial losses they said were beyond their control because of the 2014 tailings pond breach. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo.

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled Mount Polley Mining Corp. must pay laid off mine workers lost wages after the company failed to give them 60 days’ notice before laying them off earlier this year.

In her July 10 decision, board associate chair Jennifer Glougie said the employer breached a section of the Labour Relations Act by failing to give that advanced notice to 26 employees in January and February.

The company argued the layoffs were necessary because of its financial loss resulting from the tailings pond breach on August 2014. It said in the three and a half years since, it has expended approximately $205 million on remediation activities and new equipment, while having net earnings of only $50 million.

READ MORE: Staged layoffs at Mount Polley in 2018 will impact 78 jobs

“It says its parent company decided that further losses in 2018 were unacceptable,” Glougie said in background information in the decision.

Mount Polley decided at that point to temporarily reduce pit operations to reduce the loss, which forced the layoffs.

Glougie rejected the company’s argument that they didn’t need to give 60 days’ notice because of their financial situation, accepting the union’s position that the company’s losses were not beyond its control.

“The tailings pond breach, the cost of remediating that breach, and the significant financial losses the employer suffered as a result are not new or unforeseen,” Glougie said.

She said while the union and company have engaged in discussions, the union said the employer has provided no definitive committee as to when the employees will be recalled to work.

The decision comes at a time when employees have been on strike for the past seven weeks now, manning picket lines 24/7 at Bootjack Road, Gavin Lake Road and the Ditch Road near the mine east of Williams Lake.

The two parties are back at the table and expected to continues talks on Monday.

READ MORE: Talks scheduled as Mount Polley Mine strike enters seventh week

It is approaching four years since the Mount Polley tailings breach sent more than 24 million cubic metres of mining waste and forest debris into pristine rivers, streams and lakes, such as Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.

All eyes are on this year’s salmon run into Quesnel Lake and its tributaries to see whether the breach had an impact on that year’s salmon fry leaving the system for the ocean and being able to find their way home to spawn.

Several other studies are underway on Quesnel Lake, which bore the brunt of the breach, to determine the lasting impacts.

The company was never fined for the breach, believed to be the biggest spill in Canada’s mining history.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Young players skate with Kazakhstan National Team in Langley

World Junior Hockey Championships competitor conducts drills with minor players

Langley woman directs popular gospel concert

Gail Suderman’s Good Noise gospel choir’s first three shows are sold-out.

Kim’s Angels return to fill ambulance for needy in Langley

The annual charity will see donors pack an ambulance with food, clothing, and baby supplies.

Christmas cheer for 400 in Aldergrove

Shortreed Elementary School hosts breakfast with Santa

SkyTrain timeline to Langley City uncertain

Plans are firming up for a SkyTrain link, but not an arrival date.

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read