Essar Steel Algoma and USW ratify new collective agreement

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Workers at Essar Steel Algoma Inc. have ratified a new collective agreement, which takes effect on Aug. 1 for a 20-month term.

The agreement covers about 500 of the company’s technical, professional and front line management employees represented by United Steel Workers Local 2724.

No details were released, but the Sault Ste,. Marie, Ont.-based company says the agreement “recognizes the immediate need to stabilize operations after an extreme winter.”

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is a subsidiary of Essar Steel, a global integrated steel producer with an annual capacity of 14 million tonnes.

In December, 2013, the Ontario government approved a new regulation providing funding relief for the company’s defined benefit pension plans.

The new rules allowed for fixed payments over the next three years and extended the amortization period through to 2024.

The company had said that due to historically low interest, its pension contribution requirements had more than doubled year over year, escalating to unsustainable levels.