Clock ticking on Co-op Refinery labour deal

Co-op refinery to test emergency alarm system Wednesday afternoon

Time is running out on a deal between the union and management at Regina's Co-op Refinery.

After a midnight deadline on Friday passes, either the union or the refinery can declare a strike or a lockout notice within 48 hours.

Earlier this month, negotiations broke down when the provincial mediator left talks. Last week, workers voted against what the refinery called its final offer.

In an open letter, Federated Co-operatives Limited vowed to keep the refinery open, even if there is a strike or lockout. Management has dismissed any safety concerns brought up by the union.

"They will say that FCL is putting profits before people, and that the CRC cannot be operated safely in the event of a labour disruption," wrote Co-op CEO Scott Banda. "Nothing could be further from the truth — on both points."

If there is a strike or lockout, the refinery said it will slow down production to make sure operations are safe.

Earlier this month, the refinery brought trailers onto its property. At the time, the union believed the trailers would be used to house workers in the event of a lockout or strike.

The main issue separating the two sides is changes to the worker's pension plan.