March 22, 2020 - 3:00 AM
REGINA—Unifor is shocked that Federated Co-op has rejected the recommendations of the independent mediator and is using the COVID-19 crisis to leverage even more concessions from oil & gas workers.
“FCL CEO Scott Banda’s tactics get more disgusting by the hour,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Western Canada needs a secure fuel supply and the skilled operation of the Regina refinery. Instead, Scott Banda wants to use a public health crisis as bargaining leverage on his own employees.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe appointed respected mediator Vince Ready in February 2020 to find a solution to the now 108-day lockout. Ready tabled his recommendations on March 19, 2020 and the bargaining committee of Unifor Local 594 reluctantly agreed to accept the terms on March 20.
The recommendations included sweeping changes to the refinery workers’ pension plan, something cited by FCL as the primary issue leading to the lockout. Ready’s terms would have put millions of dollars back into Co-op coffers, 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 entered Premier Moe’s mediation process in good faith, only to be slapped in the face again with the underhanded approach from the company,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President.
“The evidence is now staring the Premier in the face: Co-op has never wanted a fair deal. There is only one option left, and that is legislation to end this shameful lockout,” said Dias, who will be making a formal request to the provincial government to intervene.
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’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell). Unifor National President Jerry Dias is available for video interview FaceTime or Skype.