Unifor sets up blockade around Saskatoon Co-Op cardlock

The tense labour dispute between Unifor and the Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina spilled over into Saskatoon Friday morning when the union set up a blockade around a fuel cardlock north of the city at BizHub Industrial Park.

The blockade became tense at one point, when a man tried to take down part of the fence Unifor had erected.

The man would not provide his name, but was quite upset with the blockade, calling it illegal and asking for RCMP on scene to take action.

RCMP on the scene prevented the man from taking down the fence. 


Blockade comes days before bargaining set to resume

On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan government announced Vince Ready had been appointed to mediate the dispure, which began Dec. 5 when Co-op locked out refinery employees.

Scott Banda, CEO of FCL, said Co-op is taking the mediation seriously and called the blockade illegal. 

"These latest antics are disappointing, but after everything Unifor has done, they're unfortunately not surprising," Banda said in a news release Friday.

Vivian Molnar, a Unifor 594 member present Friday, said the blockade is meant to pressure Co-op to come back to the table with "a fair and respectable offer."

She said the lockout has become "very frustrating" and that she feels FCL isn't respecting its workers. She said if FCL is locking out its employees, then Unifor is going to try to prevent them from making money. 

"We're unable to to receive our paycheque so if we're not going to be paid, unfortunately today, they're not going to make money from this cardlock," she said. 

Molnar she said workers shouldn't have to rely on a mediator to handle the dispute. 

A private security firm was also at the site acting as a liaison between the RCMP and Unifor members. 

This is not the first time the labour dispute has at the Regina refinery has spilled to other parts of the prairies.  

Earlier this month, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. won an interim court injunction against striking union members who had set up a barricade at its fuel terminal southeast of Calgary.

Co-Op set up additional security at their Saskatoon offices Friday.