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Saskatoon Co-op, UFCW head back to bargaining table

Roughly 900 Saskatoon Co-op employees, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union local 1400, walked off the job Nov. 1, 2018.
Roughly 900 Saskatoon Co-op employees, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union local 1400, walked off the job Nov. 1, 2018. Ryan Kessler / Global News

Talks to reach a new collective agreement and end a strike at Saskatoon Co-op are set to resume.

The company and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 1400 will return to the bargaining table on Nov. 29.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Co-op will not hold special meetings as requested in 2 petitions

Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks is hopeful a settlement can be reached.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with UFCW again,” Wicks said in a news release.

“This has been a long and trying process for everyone, so we hope that our discussions will help lead toward an end to this strike.”

WATCH BELOW: Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses

Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses
Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses

Over 900 unionized workers walked off the job Nov. 1 after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

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A stumbling block for the union is Co-op’s desire to introduce a second-tier wage scale for new employees.

At the time the strike started, Rod Gillies, the director of negotiations for the local, said the new tier would create an average wage disparity of $2.64 between new and existing employees.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Co-op files unfair labour practice in ongoing strike

Co-op said UFCW has negotiated contracts in the past with competitors and other co-ops that have two-tier wages.

“We were surprised and a little bewildered that UFCW has agreed to second tier settlement with other employers – including other co-ops – but has chosen to reject a similar proposal from Saskatoon Co-op,” Wicks said.

“We just want to remain competitive so we can continue to offer all our employees – present and future – good jobs, competitive wages and benefits, and opportunities to build a career with Co-op.”

Wicks added roughly 125 union members have continued to work since the strike started.