REGINA -- Unifor is escalating strike action in the wake of Friday's failed bid to send their contract dispute with the Government of Saskatchewan to final binding arbitration.

The union set up picket lines outside of a Coronach power plant preventing non-essential staff from going to work.

The plant is currently undergoing maintenance. Essential service workers are being allowed to cross the picket to keep the boiler operating which is required as a safety measure.

SaskPower says they do not know how the picket will affect the maintenance work, which is currently paused for the weekend.

The plant is normally operated by the IBEW, a union that is not striking, but Unifor says IBEW members are honouring the picket line.

The Coronach picket line will remain in place until a deal is reached between the province and the Crown workers.

It is not yet known how SaskPower is coping with the situation.

Unifor is also picketing several SaskTel dealers across the province. Those stores have remained open during the strike because they’re not run by SaskTel, but do sell many SaskTel services.

Customers are not being prevented from going into the businesses, but they are being encouraged not to cross the picket line.

On Friday, Unifor offered to return to work and to send the contract dispute to an independent arbitrator for a binding decision. The government rejected the offer, saying it will continue to bargain.

The union said it is escalating strike action to pressure the provincial government into reaching a contract settlement.