WILLIAMS LAKE, BC, March 3, 2016 /CNW/ – After receiving notice of at least 17 layoffs at the Gibraltar Mine, Unifor says that the province’s corporate hydro deferral program is failing northern communities.
“If the BC Liberal government’s hydro deferral can’t generate good jobs, then it’s just corporate welfare,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor’s Western Director. “BC’s families don’t get a pass on their hydro bills, why should multinational mining companies that are laying off workers?”
On February 26, BC Hydro applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission for a four percent rate hike.
BC companies can apply for a two-year deferral on hydro bills. When introduced by Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett (Kootenay East), the government said that it would be used as a measure to help struggling companies create jobs.
“This minister and MLA Donna Barnett have some explaining to do to these unemployed workers,” said Unifor Local 3018 president Ken Lewins. “The copper market is on the rebound, so there is no reason that the mine needed a corporate hand-out at the same time it laid off hard-working miners.”
According to the company’s website, the mine is the second largest open pit copper mine in Canada and the largest employer in the Cariboo region.