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The decision of the federal government to break its commitment to the workers and people of Cape Breton was condemned today by Canada’s largest union.

J00750073t three months ago, the federal cabinet agreed the mines were viable and promised workers that Devco would remain in production for five more years, 00730061id Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. N006f0077 they’ve turned around and abandoned these workers. 000a003cp>Thursday’s announcement by Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale that the federal government would wind down the Cape Breton Development Corporation is seen by the union as a betrayal of the miners and their families.

T00680065 minister dropped into Sydney, threw a piece of paper on the table and took our rights away, 00730061id Angus MacEachern, president of CUPE 2046. I006e0020effect, what he said was T0068is is what we’re giving you and if you don’t like it, too bad.’ 000a003cp>CUPE represents 150 mine supervisors at the Phalen and Prince mines.

C006c006fsing the Phalen mine will have a devastating impact on Cape Breton, leaving families without income or options, 00730061id Darcy. F006f0072 the miners at the Prince mine, private ownership raises the spectre of Westray, because they lose the protection of federal health and safety standards. 0020000d

M0069006eers with as much as thirty years experience have been offered severance but no pensions, because they’re not yet 50 years old, 00730061id MacEachern. O00750072 contract says we have a right as a union to negotiate reductions in staffing but management wants to ignore that right. 000a003cp>The mines shut down today as Devco workers walked off the job in protest. CUPE members are mobilizing to oppose the closure, working with other unions and community allies and examining their legal options. Anger is building as people realize the impact on families and communities and the situation remains volatile.

W00650027re not talking here about money pits, 00730061id Darcy. W00650027re talking about the survival of Cape Breton and the need to deal responsibly with the future of its residents. It’s easy to say people should go where the jobs are but all of Canada can’t move to Calgary. 000a003cp>For further information, contact: Robert Fox at (613) 795-4977

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