Minister Morgan urging Co-op, Unifor to return to bargaining table

Unifor and Federated Co-op need to sit at the table and work on a deal right now.

Those were the words from Saskatchewan’s Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Don Morgan as the two sides remain without a deal since Co-op locked out workers on December 5, 2019.

Since FCL announced they are unable to accept all of the terms from special mediator Vince Ready’s report, the government has offered to have Ready available to meet with them and work through discussions in order to resolve the solution.

Morgan believes the two sides are relatively close.

“It depends on who you talk to in terms of how far apart they are. I think they need to sit down, identify whether there are significant issues and start talking about what their return to work protocol might look like,” suggested the minister.

Morgan feels the report resolved or brought many of the issues forward. However he doesn’t know what loose ends are left to discuss.

He said a legislated solution such as binding arbitration is not within their scope to find an end to this dispute.

“We’ve not had to legislate an agreement in Saskatchewan for decades either for government workers or for private sector,” shared Morgan. “These parties should be willing to sit down and get back at it.”

Another concern for the minister of workplace safety is the refinery’s situation regarding COVID-19 regulations for workers.

“The workers that would be going back to work have to understand what the cleaning protocols would be and what’s changed in the facility,” said Morgan.

“They need to sit down and work those things through since yet they haven’t.”

He believes the parties need to work on what does work and what doesn’t work at the bargaining table, and not through the media or on the floor of the legislature.

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