Court awards B.C. miners $13 million in overdue severance

Workers near Tumbler Ridge were laid off with no warning

  • Oct. 31, 2017 3:05 p.m.

Almost 300 miners in northern B.C. are set to receive $13 million in severance pay, now that a labour dispute is over between their union and the operators of the Wolverine Mine near Tumbler Ridge.

United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 announced Monday that a three-and-a-half-year court battle between it and Walter Energy Canada has ended in favour of the workers.

In April 2014, 280 miners showed up to work at the mine only to be told they had been laid off and the mine was closed.

The union took the company to the labour relations board and won payment for not giving at least 60 days’ notice.

Walter Energy Canada went into insolvency shortly after, and United Steelworkers was forced to go through a claims process in B.C. Supreme Court as the parent company, U.S.-based Walter Energy, went into bankruptcy.

“The case was extremely complicated because we had to protect our members’ severance and termination pay from American creditors who were owed money in the U.S. bankruptcy proceedings and were going after money that was due to our members,” said United Steelworks business agent Dan Will in a statement.

The miners are set to receive their settlement by early next year.

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