Saskatchewan

Police investigating trucker's allegations of vandalism at Co-op refinery

Owners of trucking companies, caught between the employer and employees in the Co-op refinery labour dispute, say they are concerned for their safety and for the public’s safety after allegedly experiencing vandalism.

Caltrop found in truck tire, reported on Tuesday, under police investigation

Police are investigating after a driver with Heibein Trucking reported running over a caltrop earlier this week. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Owners of trucking companies, caught between the employer and employees in the Co-op refinery labour dispute, say they are concerned for their safety and for the public's safety after allegedly experiencing vandalism.

On Thursday Regina Police Service confirmed it was investigating an allegation of vandalism, specifically involving a caltrop in a truck tire, reported to them on Tuesday.

A release sent on behalf of truckers Thursday outlined a variety of alleged incidents, including a driver with Heibein Trucking running over a caltrop. That release also alleged another truck had feces "placed" on it.

Evan Grant, the maintenance manager with Grant Trucking, said he's seen the airbags on two of his trucks slashed and diesel exhaust fluid contamination in another.

"It was early on in the strike, it was actually three days in a row, one incident per day," Grant said. 

"Grant Trucking has been in business for over 35 years and vandalism isn't something we talk about or think about. We transport dangerous goods. We're worried about safety." 

Evan Grant of Grant Trucking says safety is drivers' number one concern when it comes to their vehicles being vandalized. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Grant said his drivers check their trucks every morning before hitting the road for the day as they are liable for the entire truck.

He said trucking company owners and operators are banding together and sharing information about what they're seeing. That information is then passed on to other drivers, who are being asked to do their due diligence and check their vehicles as often as possible.

Grant said he didn't know who is responsible for the vandalism and wouldn't place blame on the union or the employer.

"I don't know who it is… I'm not pointing a finger at the union. All I'm saying is we never dealt with vandalism before, and we're dealing with it now," Grant said.

The truckers say the caltrop was turned over to Regina Police Service as soon as it was found. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Unifor Local 594 president Kevin Bittman said the union was not to blame and said if any concrete evidence existed that showed the union was responsible for vandalizing fuel trucks it would have been posted to social media.

"If I thought it was our people doing it, [the employer] would have videos of it and we'd be talking to police, not reporters," Bittman said. "I can guarantee it's not our members doing that." 

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