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Construction begins on work camp at Co-op Refinery, amid standstill

The Co-op Refinery Complex will begin constructing an onsite work camp on Tuesday after Unifor Local 594 declared an impasse in September. File Photo / Global News

Construction is about to begin on an onsite work camp at the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC).

CRC said trailers will be arriving at the refinery’s Gate 7 entrance on Tuesday.

This comes after Unifor Local 594 declared an impasse on Sept. 26, when the two sides failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement.

The deal expired on Feb. 1, 2019.

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“These trailers serve as a precaution in the event we need to house our highly-trained management team and temporary contract workers in response to a possible labour disruption at CRC,” said Gil Le Dressay, VP of refinery operations.

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“Our primary goal is to reach a fair deal with our union and keep our employees working. However, we must be prepared to safely run our refinery in the event of a labour disruption.”

“Bringing trailers onsite is “not something we want to do, but is something we have to do for the safety of our people and our community.”

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He said there are three main reasons for this type of action: to protect the safety of its employees and nearby community, to protect the western Canadian fuel supply, and to protect Regina’s economy.

“CRC, like most refineries, operates 24/7, 365 days per year. By its very nature, it simply cannot be shut down in the event of a labour disruption,” Le Dressay said.

“If labour action does take place, the work camp being constructed will house our highly-skilled management team as they assume the safe operation of our refinery.”

Local 594 represents close to 800 workers at the refinery.