Sask. Crown labour dispute continues at Directwest

Unionized Crown employee strike action continued on Oct. 15, 2019, outside of Directwest in Regina. Stewart Manhas / Global News

A labour dispute between six Saskatchewan Crown corporations and its unionized employees has entered its 12th day.

Unifor members were picketing on the street outside of Directwest at 355 Longman Cres. in Regina on Tuesday.

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“We shut down Directwest … there’s nobody coming in or out today. They haven’t even made any attempts, they’ve backed right off today. They know that we’ve got this facility locked down for the day,” Unifor Local 1S president Dave Kuntz said.

“We’re going to stop the managers. We don’t want managers, contractors or consultants doing our work during this labour dispute. It’s to put some pressure on and to let the Crowns know that we mean business and for Scott Moe to be watching overtop and dealing with this appropriately.”

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Kuntz said some talks with Directwest took place last week but nothing significant.

“The plan is to continue putting pressure on,” he said.

“We’re going to change our actions day-to-day, it’s going to be unpredictable and it’s to get their attention and get them to come back to the table … they need to come back, they need to talk to us and treat us fairly.”

Kuntz said money is a key issue in their contract dispute.

Other Crown employees involved in the ongoing strike action are from SaskTel, SecurTek, SaskEnergy, SaskPower and SaskWater.

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The Crowns have offered Unifor members five per cent over five years with a zero per cent increase the first two years, according to the provincial government.

Unifor criticized MLAs for taking a 2.3 per cent pay increase earlier this year.

“The current offer of 5.0 per cent over five years made by the Crowns to Unifor employees is greater than the increase MLAs have received over the past five years, and not a wage freeze as Unifor leaders have portrayed,” read a statement from the government last week.

“Including the most recent increase, MLAs have received 0.0 per cent, 1.6 per cent, minus 3.5 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent, which equates to a 3.9 per cent increase over five years.”

Click to play video: 'Over 1,000 striking Crown employees rally in downtown Regina' Over 1,000 striking Crown employees rally in downtown Regina
Over 1,000 striking Crown employees rally in downtown Regina – Oct 11, 2019

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