Co-op looking to build on mediators recommendations
REGINA -- Unifor 594 says it is prepared to accept all the recommendations in a special mediators report in order to end its dispute with Federated Co-operatives Limited, but the refinery is instead looking to build on the report.
Co-op is offering a new deal that it says would allow for flexibility, but also sustainability for the futures of both the company and its employees.
Co-op says accepting the mediators report as is, would be a concern for the future of operations.
“Both sides had to accept things that they couldn’t get, we’re ok with that, we can find ways to live with it, but there were certain things that we have to modify for our long-term sustainability. The key one was the pension and some other cost alignment,” Vice-president of refinery operations Gil Le Dressay said.
Co-op’s new offer accepts most of the report, but looks to modify five areas, including the defined benefit plan and the employee savings plan.
“Frankly I think it’s just an excuse that they want to continue to use because they never wanted to have a deal,” executive assistant to the national president of Unifor Scott Doherty said. “It’s almost like a starting point is [special mediator Vince Ready’s] recommendations, so we’re not interested. We’re not interested in having our members vote on it, we’re interested in having [Ready’s] deal be the settlement for this agreement.”
The nearly four month labour dispute has also been taxing on the community of Regina, according to Ward 3 city councillor Andrew Stevens.
“I want to see this come to a close, I think it’s been incredibly divisive in the community, huge reputational hits for various parties. Lets bring this to an end and I think Ready’s recommendations are a starting point and an ending point for us,” Stevens said.
Co-op says everyone needs a break from the dispute and the company’s new offer would stretch two terms. Adding if it’s forced to accept the mediators report as is, changes will most likely be made to the deal in a couple years.
“Binding arbitration is not within our legislative scope right now, nor do we think it should be, but both of the parties need to sit down.” Minister of labour relations and workplace safety Don Morgan said.
Morgan is hoping both sides will work it out together and has no timeline for an end.