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Striking security guards at salt mine seek 'fair wages'

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It is day one of possibly many days on the picket line for security guards at the world’s largest salt mine in Goderich, Ont.

“Our main issue is wages. Minimum wage is going up in October to $17.20 an hour, I believe. The company’s offer was $17.15 an hour. After four years you’re still not making $19 an hour,” explained full-time night guard and Union Steward, Angela Caldwell.

Caldwell said the 15 security guards that monitor the Goderich salt mine property and portion of the port have been without a contract since the end of January.

“We’re literally working for a few pennies above minimum wage. More work is being put on us, which is fine, as long as you’re being compensated for that,” said four-year employee, David Groeling.

The striking guards are employed by Logixx Security, headquartered in Regina, Sask., who have a contract with Compass Minerals to provide security to the mine property.

“We do port security when the ships come in. We patrol the property. We do all the access control at both gates. We do parking lot patrols,” said Caldwell.

Compass Minerals said Logixx has brought in different workers to provide security while the unionized guards are on strike.

Security guards at the world’s largest salt mine in Goderich, Ont. are on strike as of April 2, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“No, that’s not OK with us. Obviously we want to get the company’s attention. If they’re just going to bring people in from Toronto to do our job, possibly paying them more money, providing lodging for them, then they could be giving us that money and we could be doing our jobs ourselves,” said Caldwell.

Security guards at the salt mine were last in job action in 2017. In 2018, 350 miners and mine staff in Goderich went on strike for 12 weeks, seeking better wages and working conditions.

The guards hope they can get a new deal quicker than that, but are steadfast that they need a better hourly rate than is being currently offered by their employer.

“Some of us can’t even go to the grocery store at times to go ahead and buy the things that you need. No one is looking at the cost for the guards. Everyone is looking at the cost to their bottom lines. We need money. Nobody wants to hear it. That’s why we’re here,” said Groeling.

CTV News London attempted to contact Logixx Security, but have not received a response.

Compass Minerals said they hope the two sides can work out a deal as soon as possible.

The 15 security guards are members of Local 9597-34 of the United Steel Workers Union. 

Goderich Mine in Goderich, Ont. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

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