Unifor’s Jerry Dias says they will not rollback protests in order to return to bargaining table

Unifor National President Jerry Dias spoke to media Thursday morning from downtown Regina, providing an update on the on-going labour dispute with Co-op as the lockout reaches day 49.

After being released from police custody Tuesday morning, Dias was told he must stay 500 meters away from the Co-op Refinery Complex.

Dias said Co-op will not bargain with Unifor negotiators unless they once again have all the chips on their table, meaning they want the blockades removed and the picket lines rolled back.

“That’s not going to happen, that is not going to happen under any circumstance,” Dias told reporters, adding that when they had much smaller picket lines and no blockades for the first five weeks of the lockout, Co-op would not agree to bargain then.

Dias also said he will be meeting with Regina Police Chief Evan Bray on Thursday to discuss a potential settlement on how members can conduct their business on the picket line after 14 protesters including himself were arrested and charged with mischief Monday night.

He also pointed out that while replacement workers are taking all their money back to Alberta and spending time in a work camp, Unifor members and other unions that have joined the picket line are spending their money at local businesses.

“The point that I’m trying to make is that we are investing in the economy, not like the scabs that have been hired to take money out of your local economy,” Dias said.

Co-op says those allegations about a return to the bargaining table are not true, adding they’ve never left the table since Unifor shutdown negotiations last September.

Unifor issued a 48 strike notice and was then locked out of the refinery on December 5th.




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