Saskatchewan

Unifor rejects 'final' contract offer from Regina Co-op refinery

Locked-out Co-op Refinery workers have voted against the latest, and perhaps final, contract offer from the company.

Union wants province to enforce special mediator's recommendations

Unifor supporters held a rally at the Saskatchewan legislature on Wednesday. The union wants the province to step in and put an end to the labour dispute. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Locked-out Co-op refinery workers in Regina have voted down the latest, and perhaps final, contract offer from the company.

The union said 89 per cent of its members voted against the offer.

In a news release, Federated Co-op Limited (FCL) said it's disappointed Unifor members have rejected its "best and final offer."

"The CRC will be required to make significant changes to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, and to protect our refinery and jobs long-term," said Gil Le Dressay, vice president of refinery operations, in the release. "It is our hope the union membership will soon understand that the only deal that balances their requirements and also achieves long-term certainty for CRC is our best and final offer."

Earlier Wednesday, union members and supporters held a rally in Regina. A parade of cars and trucks honked as they drove past the front steps of the legislative building.

Union leadership wants the province to step in and force an end to the labour dispute, which has been going on for 146 days.

In February, the province appointed a special mediator who met with both sides and came up with recommendations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Unifor members voted 98 per cent in favour of the recommendations. The union wants the government to take the mediator's suggestions and sign them into law.

"Regina's refinery workers have sent a clear message to Premier Moe: impose the mediators' recommendations and end this dispute," said Unifor national president Jerry Dias in a news release.

Co-op did not accept all of the mediator's recommendations in March, instead coming back with its "final" offer.

Now that it has been rejected, the company said it will continue to run the refinery "business as usual" with replacement workers, like it has since the beginning of the labour dispute.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Rodgers is a videojournalist and producer with CBC Saskatchewan.

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