Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex announced that layoffs are coming, leaving Unifor Local 594 wanting answers.
President Nathan Kraemer says these layoffs are unnecessary, and are against the Collective Bargaining Agreement in place.
“They’ve given us a pretty significant number of jobs they would like to reduce, as well as completely eliminating two entire job classifications, which are listed in our CBA and they’re negotiated the same,” said Kraemer. “Essentially what they want to do is go outside of the CBA that we just ratified with them after a 7-month lockout.”
When asked if the lockout has anything to do with the layoffs, Kramer said it’s definitely a huge factor.
He says the lockout gave them the chance to see what it would be like to have fewer employees.
“They realized operational efficiencies through the lockout while they were running with a bare bones staff, and they think that going forward, they can continue with that. That terrifies me personally,” said Kraemer. “They’re also running at reduced capacities, just because they got away with it for seven months without something bad happening, it doesn’t mean that should be the norm going forward.”
Kraemer says tensions have definitely carried over from the rather hostile lockout, adding this latest move definitely hasn’t helped.
“We had been making ground as far as trying to mend fences and rebuild the relationship,” said Kraemer. “But it’s difficult when we say the fight’s behind us, but the company still seems like they want to keep throwing punches. This last announcement was a major step backwards as far as morale and rebuilding the relationship goes, it was harmful for sure.”
Kraemer says they are hoping to reduce the number of layoffs by looking at current vacancies, and voluntary buyouts.