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Law must be enforced, business can’t be held hostage

By Daniel Jungwirth

February 3, 2020

 

In an address to business leaders in Regina, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) CEO Scott Banda called for the law to be enforced so bargaining could begin again without the threat of Unifor’s illegal blockades.

“Unifor said this labour dispute can only be resolved at the bargaining table, and on that we agree,” said Banda. “But the bargaining table doesn’t look like setting up blockades, breaking the law and defying court orders. You can’t have meaningful bargaining when your business is being held hostage.”

Although the two parties returned to the bargaining table on Friday, Jan. 31, talks between FCL and Unifor broke down. After bargaining for 12 hours, Unifor walked away from the bargaining table and re-established their fence blockades at the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) even though FCL was prepared to continue bargaining for days.

The disturbing precedent being set by Unifor’s disregard for the law, labour relations and the right for businesses to operate should give all businesses and levels of government serious pause.

“Unifor, I’m calling on you to end these illegal blockades and get back to the bargaining table for as long as it takes to get our people back to work,” said Banda. “Since Unifor’s illegal blockades have remained for weeks and their aggressive actions gone unchecked, I’m asking law enforcement to enforce Justice McMurtry’s court order.”

For much of this labour disruption, Unifor has defied the law by erecting illegal blockades at the refinery, the FCL Carseland Fuel Terminal and other Co-op locations in Weyburn and Regina. They have been held in contempt of court for intentionally and deliberately disobeying a Queen’s Bench court injunction order. They will face a court injunction hearing for the illegal blockade of FCL’s fuel terminal in Carseland, Alta. this Wednesday, Feb. 5. They will be held accountable at a second contempt court hearing in Saskatchewan this Thursday, Feb. 6. As well, 14 people were arrested for actions at their illegal blockade.

Until the blockades are removed and bargaining can resume, FCL and the CRC remain committed to safely and efficiently operating the refinery and fuelling Western Canada, from farmers preparing for seeding, to truckers hauling much-needed goods to school buses starting their routes at a Co-op Cardlock. Unfortunately, there is potential for sporadic fuel outages as a result of Unifor’s illegal blockades cutting off fuel from Western Canadians.

More information on this labour disruption is available at refineryfacts.ca