Employees at the I.G. Fibers plant near Ashcroft have been locked out as of 7 p.m. on July 12. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Employees at the I.G. Fibers plant near Ashcroft have been locked out as of 7 p.m. on July 12. (Photo credit: Submitted)

I.G. Fibers locks out employees at plant near Ashcroft

Contract discussions are at an impasse after 18 months of bargaining

As of 7 p.m. on Monday, July 12, I.G. Machine & Fibers has locked out the employees at its site near Barnes Lake east of Ashcroft.

The workers were served with a lockout notice last week, and at 11.10 a.m. on July 11 the notice took effect, according to an employee who spoke with the Journal on condition of anonymity. On July 12 the company gave notice that they were locking workers out as of 7 p.m. that day.

The move comes after some 18 months of negotiations. The employee said that they were frustrated the company has not taken workers’ needs seriously in regards to wages and benefits that are comparable with other similar operations in the area. Employees also do not have a company pension; rather, the company matches employees’ RRSP contributions at the rate of $1.35 an hour, but only if the employee agrees to take part in the plan.

The last offer before the lockout did not even meet the rate of inflation, said the employee. In addition, retroactive pay to when the current contract expired (February 2020) has been withdrawn from the most recent offer.

At the time of writing, no meeting between the two sides had been planned.

Some 40 people are employed at the site, where rock is crushed and coloured, then shipped to other divisions to create roofing shingles. There are 100 companies in the I.G. Machine & Fibers Ltd. corporate family.

Ashcroft