Unifor says no trucks will be allowed into the Co-op Refinery Complex

During a news conference Monday morning from outside of the Co-op Refinery Complex, Unifor announced no trucks will be entering the refinery.

Unifor says they have 500 members from across Canada coming in to help picket and block off every entrance and exit to the facility.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias said Co-op locking out the union goes against everything the company’s creation was based on.

“It was about the co-operative, it was about the community, it was about people pooling their resources, understanding their natural resources and raw materials and putting it to work for the community.”

The union says this is in an effort to try and return to the bargaining table for a fair deal.

Local 594 President Kevin Bittman said Co-op has chosen a dangerous path.

“Three million dollars a day isn’t enough for them, and they want to gut my pension,” Bittman said. “We came to the bargaining table in good faith in the belief that we could get a deal, we sought to protect what we have, not to ask for anything more than what we were promised, and they locked us out.”

While Unifor will be blocking people, trucks, and possibly trains from going into the refinery, something Federated Co-op is calling illegal and against the court injunction they filed back in December.

However, Dias explained how now laws are being broken during this protest.

“The injunction was against local 594, the national union is now the group legally that is doing the major blockade,” Dias said. “We’ll deal with that in court, because our argument (Monday) is that we are not violating any injunction at all.”

While both sides are looking to get back to the bargaining table, a major sticking point is pension security. While FCL would like to see workers pay into their pensions, the union says this goes against a promise made years ago, and would essentially gut their existing pension.

Meanwhile, Regina Police have also sent out a notice saying they are aware of the situation at the refinery. They are advising the public to avoid the area if possible as there will be traffic delays.

Tow trucks were seen removing vehicles from the entrances of the refinery late Monday afternoon with Regina police on hand.

Police say this move is being done for not following their court injunction.

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