Agreement ends six months of lockout
Members of workers’ union Unifor Local 594 in Regina, Sask. have ratified a tentative agreement with Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC), ending the Federated Co-operatives Limited’s (FCL) six-month lockout of 730 workers.
“This deal is about competitiveness within the refining industry and long-term sustainability. It’s about ensuring that we continue to be an economic engine and that we provide good jobs for this city and this province for generations to come,” said Gil Le Dressay, vice-president of refinery operations at CRC. “Our industry is changing and we have only begun to see how new regulatory requirements and external pressures are going to shape our industry's future. We all need to recognize that these changes are imminent. We are better off facing that future as partners as we work together to achieve our collective goals and interests.”
The new collective agreement maintains the defined benefit pension plan and the company matched employee savings plan for existing workers. Wage improvements in the new collective agreement match the National Pattern.
“Our members and their bargaining committee held firm throughout a difficult, protracted and often bitter negotiation process,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. “In the end, we were successful in protecting their retirement security and in achieving the national wage pattern but this result could have been reached far earlier if the mediator recommendations had been enforced by Premier Scott Moe.”
Union members will return to work over the coming weeks in accordance with the new contract’s Return-to-Work Agreement.
“We didn't seek this work stoppage. Now that it's finally been resolved our members are looking forward to returning to their jobs and getting back to work,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 president. “This was the first, and hopefully last, work stoppage in our local's 78 years of faithfully providing the Co-op Refinery with our dedicated labour. It will be hard going back into the workplace for some of us, but we will do it with our heads held high because we stood in solidarity for one another. This has been the toughest period in our history, but we will be stronger because of it.”
“We are sincerely pleased that our employees are returning to work after more than six months off the job,” said Le Dressay. “This labour disruption was a difficult period in our history, but I believe that we will emerge from this a stronger team and organization. The Union has been our partner in fuelling Western Canada for more than 75 years, and they will be our partner for generations into the future.”