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Co-op CEO Scott Banda to meet with Unifor today

January 27, 2020 - 12:00 AM

REGINA–Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) CEO Scott Banda has agreed to meet with Unifor, 53 days after the company locked out workers from its Regina refinery.

“We have been here and ready to bargain for months and made a significant move last Tuesday, offering to bargain without any conditions. We are encouraged by this opportunity to meet with Mr. Banda and hope this provides a path to the agreement our members deserve,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Negotiating an agreement is the only thing that will end this dispute and get our members back to work operating the refinery safely.”

The Unifor Local 594 bargaining committee reached out to the employer Tuesday, January 21 and offered to remove two key union demands that Co-op had said were conditions to resume bargaining.

The union also removed barriers from an emergency gate to ensure easy and quick access and egress for all emergency vehicles after a meeting with Regina Police Chief Evan Bray on Thursday, January 23. In addition, the union offered to remove all barriers to the refinery if FCL removed scabs from the workplace.

“At 4:00 p.m. this afternoon in Saskatoon, Jerry, Local President Kevin Bittman and I will meet with Scott Banda in the hopes we can resolve this dispute and get our members back to work,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President and lead negotiator for Unifor at a rally on the picket line. “The cross-country support from the entire labour movement helped us get to this point and we’re all thankful for the unprecedented solidarity.”

Since Monday’s arrest of Dias and 13 other picketers, hundreds more labour activists from Unifor and other unions across Canada have travelled to Regina to help hold the picket line at the refinery.

Nearly 800 highly skilled members of Unifor Local 594 were locked out from the Co-op Refinery on December 5, 2019. The refinery is operating at reduced capacity with unqualified scab workers and managers.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 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 or to arrange interviews, please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).