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After 7 weeks, still no talks in Iron Ore Co. of Canada strike

Striking workers and Iron Ore Co. of Canada Inc. are mired in disagreement as the strike enters its eighth week.

"There has been no contact with the company," said Brian Keough, the treasurer of the United Steelworkers Local 5795, which is the main union on strike.

A spokesperson for the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The strike is in its eighth week and now rivals in duration the last strike at the mine a decade ago. In 2007, workers went on strike for about seven weeks, contributing to a 15% year-over-year drop in sales to 13.4 million tonnes in iron ore concentrates.

A few years before that, a 10-week strike cut iron ore sales by about 23% in 2004.

The lack of talks suggests little headway has been made over key issues in labor negotiations. Iron Ore Co. of Canada wants more fluid worker rules that the union strongly opposes. Strikers have twice rejected offers from the company, which contends its proposals are fair.

It is not clear how deeply production may, or may not, be affected by the strike. Iron Ore Co. of Canada has not responded to specific questions on that matter. But in the past, the strikes have hammered production and there are no signs that this time around will be any different.

It is unclear if the Newfoundland and Labrador government would try to apply pressure to end the dispute that has begun to cut into the local economy. S&P Global Market Intelligence requested comment on the matter.