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Members of the four unions representing workers at DEVCO have developed a plan to keep coal mine open - and in public ownership.

CUPE 2046, working with members of the United Mine Workers, CAW and IAM and supported by the management of the mine, are mounting a campaign to avert a decision by the federal government, which owns the mine, to privatize its operations.

“There are a great many families in Cape Breton who are going to be affected by any decision to close or privatize any of the mines,” said Angus MacEachern, president of Local 2046.

Pointing out that the workers have identified blocks of coal that can be profitably mined, MacEachern said: “We are not looking for more government handouts. We are asking that the minister give serious consideration to this plan that will allow 1667 workers to continue to do the jobs that they are trained to do, and which are vital to the economic health of our communities.”

CUPE is also concerned about safety standards if the mines were privatized. Citing the weakness of the provincial safety enforcement in the mining sector, MacEachern said: “We certainly don’t want to see what happened in Westray repeated in Cape Breton.”