Saskatchewan

Regina wastewater workers reject latest contract offer from Epcor

Unionized workers at Regina's wastewater treatment plant believe they are operating with a 'skeleton crew,' according to CUPE, which represents them.

Union says privatization has increased workload on limited staff

Unionized employees at Regina's wastewater treatment plant have rejected the latest job offer from Epcor, the utility company operating the plant. (City of Regina)

Unionized workers at Regina's wastewater treatment plant rejected the latest offer in ongoing labour negotiations with Epcor — the Edmonton-based company operating the city-owned plant under a public-private partnership, or P3, agreement.

Epcor and the plant's workers have been bargaining since July but after four rounds of meetings, no deal has been struck.

"Our members believe that the place can't run in a safe and efficient manner with the staffing that they have," said Dave Stevenson, national representative for the CUPE Local 7667 workers.

"Our members believe that it is a skeleton crew there."

The union said since the plant's operations were handed over to Epcor, the staffing has diminished and the workload on the remaining workers has increased.

There are currently 17 unionized employees working at the plant. They have scheduled overtime and some workers have troubles scheduling time off from work, the union says.

The workers are looking for competitive wages, more in line with Saskatchewan's job market, a work-life balance, and a schedule shift, Stevenson said.

"If you're being overworked, you're tired. You're not spending enough time with family and friends to rejuvenate yourself," he said.

He added the workers aren't insisting to be paid the same amount as workers in similar jobs in Alberta, but said other companies in Regina pay more money for similar jobs and duties.

Epcor said in an emailed statement the company values the workers and is also looking for a fair agreement.

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