Dominion Diamond Mines plans to lay off 150 employees at its Ekati mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, according to union officials.
“The employer’s intent is to replace these positions with contracted workers by October 1, 2018, as a cost-cutting mechanism to increase profitability for the private owner,” Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers (UNW), which represents Dominion’s employees, said Tuesday.
However, according to the miner, the cuts are due to “unacceptably high levels of absenteeism that have negatively impacted the costs of [the] operations,” Dominion CEO Patrick Evans told CBC News. Evans has asked the union for proposals that would help alleviate the “serious and unsustainable” situation, and said Dominion would consider any such recommendations, the report said Tuesday.
“However, if we cannot resolve issues through discussions with the union, the contemplated contracting will proceed,” he added.
The UNW intends to file complaints related to unfair labor practices with the Canada Industrial Relations Board, as well as pursuing several other options, Parsons added.
The prospective cuts come a week after Dominon reportedly said it would postpone work on the Jay pipe, an extension to Ekati that was due to add a decade to the mine’s life, as the company assessed the profitability of the expansion.
This is not the first time Dominion has cut jobs at Ekati. In 2016 the company moved its head office from Yellowknife to Calgary, affecting 100 jobs in the transition, CBC News said. The same year, a fire at the mine threatened the temporary layoff of over 300 employees, according to the report.
Dominion did not respond to Rapaport News’ requests for comment.