Province appoints special mediator to assist in Co-op Refinery dispute

The Provincial Government says they’ve appointed a special mediator to assist in the dispute between Federated Co-op and Unifor.

Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan has appointed Vince Ready as a special mediator to assist in the negotiations between Unifor Local 594 and the Consumer’s Co-operative Refineries Limited.

Workers at the Co-op Refinery Complex have been locked out since December 5th after issuing 48 strike notice.

According to a news release the special mediator will begin on February 18th. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement the mediator shall provide the parties and the minister with recommended terms for agreement.

The parties and mediator will have 20 days to reach a settlement.

Premier Scott Moe will be speaking with reporters at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking this morning, Local 594 President Kevin Bittman said he is appreciative of the move by the provincial government.

“I applaud the governments decision in appointing the special mediator, we hope that he can help us in getting a settlement.” said Bittman. “I also applaud the governments leadership in showing that they understand the impact this lockout has had on Saskatchewan and the city of Regina,” Bittman added.

The appointment of Ready was welcomed by Federated Co-op as well. CEO Scott Banda says he believes Ready will help the sides work together to get a deal done.

“Right from the beginning, we’ve always been of the view there are complex issues here that need to be talked about in detail,” Banda said. “We believe the appointment by the province of Saskatchewan will help encourage those meaningful conversations.”

Ready has a long history of mediation in labour dispute, doing much of his work in B.C., recently working on the prolonged forestry strike on Vancouver Island.

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