Thursday, August 26, 2010

Potash takeover bad for workers, bad for Saskatchewan, bad for Canada

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

OTTAWA –A foreign takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan would threaten potash mineworkers and their communities across the country, says the president of the union representing about 3,000 potash workers, including 800 miners, production and construction workers at PCS.

“As a branch plant of multinational giant such as BPH, all rules for civilized negotiations to keep jobs and investment in Canada would be off the table,” says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers President Dave Coles.

“Right now CEP and PCS have agreements in place that promote local hiring and put the people of Saskatchewan first. But, speaking from experience, it’s very difficult to extract that commitment from a company headquartered in a different hemisphere.”

Coles says there is also growing concern that a foreign owner would destroy the work of Canpotex, which markets and exports Canadian potash for the benefit of Canada. “It’s a slippery slope toward a monopoly, says Coles, and all Canadian potash mining companies would be vulnerable.”

“Our manufacturing base is taking another hit,” he adds, “and once again it begs the question: ‘who is in control of Canadian resources’”? When it comes to the oil industry, our raw bitumen is being shipped to the US for value-added processing. In forestry, we have raw logs going to China from BC.

Given its track record, Coles holds out little hope that the Harper government will step in to stop any takeover. He notes that the Investment Canada Act outlaws foreign takeovers that do not deliver a “net benefit” to Canada. Since the Act came into force in 1985, only one takeover has been rejected, while 13,500 have gone ahead.

“This is one more iconic Canadian industry on the chopping block under Mr. Harper’s watch.

“Canadians deserve public hearings and full public disclosure of the government’s reasons for accepting or rejecting any takeover bid. That will come in handy at election time!”

Click here to read the Council of Canadians release.

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