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Inco to slash more jobs

Friday, January 15, 1999
ALLAN ROBINSON
Mining Reporter

Inco Ltd. said yesterday that it plans to cut another 800 jobs at its Sudbury, Ont., nickel mines, and hopes to achieve it through retirement but has not ruled out layoffs.

"It is not unrealistic to expect that we will achieve [the cuts] through early retirement and attrition," said Jerry Rogers, a spokesman for Toronto-based Inco.

Mr. Rogers said that over the next two years, 45 per cent of Inco's Sudbury work force of 5,400 will have accumulated more than 30 years of service, making them eligible for retirement on a full pension of $32,000 a year. Mr. Rogers said it is quite possible that of the 2,430 workers eligible for retirement, 800 will take it.

However, an Inco spokesman for the Sudbury division seemed to have drawn a different conclusion. "We want to downsize by 800 within the next year," an Inco spokesman in Sudbury said yesterday. Inco said that only 25 per cent of its work force, or 1,350 workers, are eligible for full pension this year. That suggests that unless more workers opt for retirement than recent experience suggests, there might have to be layoffs.

In the past year, about 30 to 35 workers have retired each month.

But Ronald Aelick, president of Inco's Ontario division, told the Sudbury-area regional council meeting on Wednesday that "aggressive and relentless cost reduction must and will continue." He added that there might have to be layoffs, to make up for slower-than-expected losses to retirement.

In 1998, depressed nickel prices forced Inco to take severe cost-saving measures and cut 1,275 jobs to find $223-million (U.S.) in savings. Inco estimated that the employment cutbacks made last year and other measures would save $165-million annually beginning this year and that a dividend cut would save a further $57.8-million.

The company is now seeking to realize total cost savings of $270-million, said Wayne Fraser, the area co-ordinator for the United Steelworkers of America. "There is no need to have anybody hit the streets," Mr. Fraser said of Inco's threats of possible layoffs.

Mr. Fraser said Inco is close to achieving its cost-saving target.

Report on Business Company Snapshot is available for:
INCO LIMITED

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Inco to slash more jobs

Copyright © 1999 The Globe and Mail