Co-op refinery workers prepare for potential lockout

By Kevin Martel/CKOM News Staff
March 30, 2017 - 5:47pm

The union representing hundreds of workers at the Co-op refinery is preparing to be locked out on Sunday.

A two-week cooling off period will end at 12 a.m. March 31. At that time, 48-hour strike or lockout notice could be issued by either side if a deal is still not reached.

An internal email sent from the Unifor 594 bargaining committee to its members was obtained by 980 CJME. In it, workers are being encouraged to get ready for a labour disruption by the weekend.

"All indications are that the Company will lock out its employees on Sunday," the email reads.

The committee said it believes the company's true intention is to "damage the workplace forever and bust our union".

Around 800 employees are being told to clear out their lockers and cubicles of any personal belongings, and take any pooled resources among departments, such as kitchen and canteen items.

"If the Scabs want to run the refinery while we are on the outside of the fence, we should not be doing anything to make life easier for them," stated the email.

Members were also told at this point there's no need to support the Co-op retail system, advising family members and friends not to buy gas, groceries or visit any of the Co-op home centres until the bargaining process has been resolved.

An individual who speaks for the refinery said the company is not speculating what might happen, preferring to simply just wait until the cooling off period expires before commenting.

Workers were told by the union bargaining committee to keep working until such time they are officially locked out.

"We are the only thing holding that place together. If they are going to kick us out of our workplace, it won't be without a fight."


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