Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Unifor 594 members are seen walking the picket line at the Co-op Refinery in Regina, in a Jan. 21, 2020, file photo.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s labour relations minister is telling both sides in a bitter contract dispute at an oil refinery to figure it out themselves because he doesn’t want to bring in legislation.

Refinery owner Federated Co-operatives Ltd. locked out about 700 unionized workers in early December at its Regina plant after they took a strike vote.

The government appointed veteran labour mediator Vince Ready in February after weeks of unrest on picket lines as workers and supporters put up barriers to try to shut the plant down. Police made a number of arrests.

Story continues below advertisement

Ready released his recommendations last week and they were accepted by members of Unifor Local 594 in a vote on Monday.

The company said on the weekend it was unable to accept all the terms.

It has now tabled another offer that the union says includes “new, aggressive concessions.”

Federated Co-operatives says the proposals are based on the mediation report but take into account the significant effects on the company’s business of COVID-19 and declining oil prices.

“We have taken the recommendations in their (mediation) report and built on them,” the company said in a Tweet on Thursday.

“Today, we have provided 1/8 Unifor 5943/8 a fair and final offer.”

Labour Relations Minister Don Morgan said he spoke to the company and the union and offered to have Ready meet with them again.

Story continues below advertisement

Morgan said he wants the two sides to resolve the dispute themselves.

“We’ve indicated binding arbitration is not within our legislative scope right now, nor do we think it should be,” he said.

“We knew going into this, when we started to look at the different positions, that this was going to take awhile, that the parties were a long ways apart. They’ve made progress. They aren’t there yet.”

In its statement on the weekend, the company said it needed to “consider the stark world developments that are presently unfolding and their impacts to both our business reality and our ever-more critical responsibility to our multiple stakeholders.”

It said a drastic decline in consumer use of fuel and quickly declining oil prices have put the refinery “in a more difficult financial position than when negotiations began.”

The company wants to modify five areas of the mediator’s report, including recommendations involving the defined benefit plan and an employee savings plan.

Story continues below advertisement

Pensions have been at the heart of the dispute.

The union said the offer is anything but fair and wants the province to step in.

“Right from the beginning, we called for mediation to be binding, not a friendly suggestion for Co-op to ignore,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a news release.

“The province must introduce legislation to end this dispute and force this rogue employer to restore safe operation of Saskatchewan’s largest refinery.”

The union said the modifications include a “significant reduction” in the company’s pension responsibilities.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies