You are here

Refinery workers overwhelmingly endorse independent mediator’s recommendations

March 23, 2020 - 12:00 AM

REGINA—Unifor Local 594 members have voted in 98 per cent favour of the recommendations made by a Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, the government-appointed mediators asked to help end the 109-day lockout at the Co-op Refinery.

“Premier Scott Moe appointed Ready and Rogers to resolve this dispute. They did their part. The union has now accepted the recommendations. The only thing standing in the way of an end to this lockout is an employer that demands new concessions to this day,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We asked the premier for this process to be binding because clearly Co-op cannot be trusted to act in good faith. We were right.”

In addition to snubbing the recommendations of Moe’s appointed mediators, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to try to leverage even more concessions from oil and gas workers.

Ready and Rogers tabled eight recommendations on March 19, 2020 that included sweeping changes to the refinery workers’ pension plan, which FCL said were needed. The mediators’ terms would have saved the employer millions of dollars, as workers would have contributed up to eight per cent to their pensions, in addition to other major concessions the company had been seeking. 

“Refinery workers didn’t endorse the mediators’ recommendations because they gave us everything we wanted. We endorsed them because they represent a reasonable compromise that the company has little excuse to reject,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President.

Unifor remains concerned that this lockout and use of scabs from out of province in a crowded work camp is dragging on amidst a public health crisis that threatens the provincial economy.

“We need Premier Moe to legislate an end to this and force FCL to accept the now-ratified deal,” 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). Unifor National President Jerry Dias is available for video interview FaceTime or Skype.