‘We’re not going’: Union declines Co-op Refinery’s invitation to return to table

No progress has been made in negotiations between the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) and its employees, with about 24 hours to go before striking.

The refinery reached out to Unifor Local 594 – the union representing about 800 workers – on Wednesday, with an invitation back to the table.

Unifor didn’t accept the invite.

“The members spoke loud and clear the other night and they don’t want us talking about concessions, and until there is a deal on the table with no concessions in choice and protection, we’re not going there.”

CRC was given a 48-hour strike notice from Unifor at about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We never left the table – we need to get back to the table.”

CRC locked out their employees as of 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The dispute hinges over choice and protection on pension plans. CRC is proposing employees to move to a defined contribution pension plan.

The other option would see workers contribute 11 per cent to the current defined benefit plan.

Right now, their defined benefit plan is funded purely by the employer which they would like to keep as an option in their next bargaining agreement – for those already locked into a plan.

Workers voted 97.3 per cent in favour of strike action. Mediation broke down on Nov.12.

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