Crown employees walk picket line as strike begins
REGINA -- Striking Crown employees were picketing outside of SaskTel in Regina on Friday morning.
Crown workers at SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, Securtek, Direct West, SaskWater and the Water Security Agency have all walked off the job. Workers started walking the picket line as of 12:01 a.m. Friday.
On Monday, employees began refusing overtime. Unifor, the union representing the workers, says the key issue it the province’s push to freeze wages.
Local union president Dave Kuntz was walking the picket lines in Regina on Friday.
"We continue to believe that strike action is not in the best interests of crown corporations, employees, or the people of Saskatchewan," Minister Donna Harpauer said. "We believe that the employer offer of five percent over five years respects the hard work of crown employees while balancing the fiscal reality of our province, and we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached at the bargaining table in good faith."
The provincial NDP said its biggest concern is the employees who will be without pay for the duration of the strike.
“These are folks who, many of them have worked for the Crowns for decades,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said. “In a time where this government has been drawing hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Crowns, using them as their personal piggy bank to plug the holes in their budgets, it’s really embarrassing.”
Meili says the Premier is directly to blame to the strike.
Each of the Crown corporations has implemented essential service schedules to ensure qualified staff is available in the event of emergency.