The future of US Steel's Hamilton steel plant in Canada is uncertain, it seems, as the American steel giant is in no mood to discuss its intentions for the plant or, indeed, its future in Canada.
A report on the website thespec.com states that the steel company has written to Hamilton's city council stating that it will not speak publicly about its future plans for the plant or the 2,000 jobs there that might be at stake.
US Steel spokesman Trevor Harris has said that closing down the Hamilton blast furnace and negotiating a five-year labour contract at the company's Lake Erie Works had saved the business money, but that five years of losses means that more needs to be done.
According to thespec.com, US Steel's deal with Ottawa means it will continue to operate its Canadian plants until December 31 2015, when a special pension funding deal with the province comes to an end. "That combination has fed fears the company will walk away from its Canadian plants," the website reported.
Canada's federal industry minister James Moore said he was keeping an eye on the situation and ensuring that US Steel sticks to commitments made in relation to the acquisition of Stelco.
Hamilton City Council's steel committee are sending Mayor Bob Bratina and Councillor Scott Duvall to US Steel in the hope that a private meeting can be set up. The city council has also set in motion plans for an economic impact study of a full closure of the former Stelco operations.
The United Steelworkers Union is saying that US Steel's refusal to talk about what is clearly an issue for local people is 'feeding a growing dread'. Bill Ferguson, president of the United Steelworkers local at the Lake Erie Works said the union was trying to find out about the deal struck when US Steel acquired Stelco. "We're included in that, we are the people who work in the mill and this is our future," he told thespec.com