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After snubbing Moe’s mediators, Co-op demands more concessions

March 25, 2020 - 12:00 AM

March 25, 2020

REGINA—Only 72 hours after rejecting all of the recommendations from Premier Scott Moe’s appointed mediators, Federated Co-operatives Limited has tabled new, aggressive concessions in bargaining with oil & gas workers in Regina.

“Right from the beginning, we called for mediation to be binding, not a friendly suggestion for Co-op to ignore,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The province must introduce legislation to end to this dispute and force this rogue employer to restore safe operation of Saskatchewan’s largest refinery.”

On day 111 of the bitter lockout at the Co-op Refinery, the company has tabled a “final offer” with concessions that go far beyond what was proposed by Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers in their report commissioned and paid for by the Saskatchewan government. Co-op’s new demands include a significant reduction in the company’s pension responsibilities while gutting the employee savings plan.

“Co-op has never wanted to compromise, they want it all,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President. “But it’s too late for that. The mediators’ report was the process that workers and the company agreed to, we ratified it, and it’s what Scott Moe needs to enforce.”

Local 594 voted 98 per cent in favour of the compromises contained in the report from the Premier’s appointed mediators, and say they are ready to return to work under that settlement, which includes workers contributing eight percent to their pensions. Unifor says that a return to work for the skilled workforce that normally operates the Regina refinery cannot happen soon enough.

“The crowded scab camp is a health disaster waiting to happen. It is in the province’s interest for Premier Moe to put an end to this lockout and close the scab camp once and for all,” said Dias.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).