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Unions strike deal on temporary coal miner records review

Unions trying to get a judicial review of a coal mine project using miners from China reluctantly accepted a deal to see some of the records they want released Monday, but say their overall goal is to have many more documents released.

Lorne Lachance representing the government of Canada offered to allow the unions 12 Labour Market Opinions -- documents used in part to obtain work permits – to review on the condition they are not released to the public.

The government contends that should be enough to show the unions the permitting process for foreign workers was correctly carried out, but the Operating Engineers Local 115 and Construction & Specialized Workers Union Local 1611 disagree.

Outside court, the unions' lawyer Charles Gordon said the 12 LMOs -- about four pages each -- will not satisfy the labour groups and he also aims to have all the documents eventually released to the public.

Meanwhile, HD Mining has launched an appeal of last week's Federal Court ruling the unions, who allege Canadians were purposely excluded from the jobs, have standing to seek a judicial review of how the permits were granted.

All sides in the dispute will meet Wednesday behind closed doors, a condition of the deal, to have the 12 LMOs released to the plaintiffs.

Vancouver-based journalist Jeremy Nuttall spent three years reporting in Beijing before returning to B.C. this year. Find his previous Tyee articles here.

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