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SaskTel employee Tanya Adair, left, walks with colleagues along a picket line near a SaskTel building on Lorne Street in downtown Regina on Oct. 4, 2019.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

The union representing 5,000 striking Saskatchewan Crown workers is offering to resolve the outstanding dispute over pay with binding arbitration, but the government says no.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias says an agreement has been reached on all non-monetary issues.

He says there is an impasse over the government’s offer of a five per cent pay increase over five years starting in the third year, which the union says amounts to a two-year wage freeze.

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Dias sent a letter to Premier Scott Moe offering to send outstanding money issues to binding arbitration using a third-party arbitrator acceptable to both sides.

“We are expecting an expeditious response because the quicker you get back and agree that this makes sense because we are clearly at an impasse, our members will go back to work and we’ll let a third party make the final and binding decision,” Dias said Friday in front of a crowd of striking workers.

“There’s no way that this thing should take more than a couple of months in order to have several hearings, put together the economic arguments and move forward.”

Moe’s office responded by forwarding a statement by Blair Swystun, President and CEO of Crown Investments Corporation.

“The Crowns will not be agreeing to binding arbitration,” Swystun wrote. “We believe agreements can be reached by continuing to bargain in good faith.”

Talks resumed Friday between the union and six Crown corporations including SaskPower and SaskTel after workers walked off the job two weeks ago.

Last week, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency reached a tentative deal with Unifor Local 820, which has 138 members.

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