Trucks remain lined up outside Co-op refinery following court ruling
REGINA -- Trucks are still lined up along Fleet St., but there's more movement along the picket lines at the Co-op Refinery Complex.
A Regina judge ruled last week that Unifor picketers may hold up traffic heading into the refinery for a maximum of ten minutes.
"We've always said we have a constitutional right to peaceful assembly and to picket, our employer that makes three-million dollars a day has locked us out, so we're going to exercise our right,” Unifor Local 594 President Kevin Bittman said.
Co-op is pleased with the ruling.
"That ruling really respects two rights, it respects the right of the protesters to provide information and have a peaceful demonstration and it respects our right to freedom of movement,” Gilbert Le Dressay, Vice-President of Refinery Operations, said.
In her ruling on Dec. 24, Justice McMurtry stated, "A delicate balance must be maintained between the union's right to picket and the employer's right to protect its premises."
She added, "Long delays can cause tensions to rise to levels where unexpected incidents occur. The current order seeks to deal with that risk."
Co-op says it still has concerns with vehicles and pylons being used to block the entrances and exits of the refinery.
"The protesters have a right to walk back-and-forth there and then they're to clear when a vehicle approaches, when it requests, but the putting of pylons or they actually have vehicles bumper-to-bumper across the road many times around the whole facility, and at our other facilities, those are all illegal," Le Dressay said.
Bittman says the pylons are in place to protect the picketers, not to block traffic.
"We're right next to the road, so the pylons there are strictly there for our safety, they're moveable, they're not an object that can't be moved, so we're going to make sure that we're going to protect our picketers and that's why the pylons are there,” Bittman said.
With the labour dispute stretching into its fourth week, Co-op and Unifor say they have no plans to head back to the bargaining table at this time.