Update, 1:40 p.m.:
From Co-Op spokesperson Kelly Romas: “All of our sites are experiencing shortages of fuel product. It’s an active situation, and Red River Co-op is currently asking our members to reach out to their favorite locations for live updates, as it changes as trucks arrive on site. We have 35 gas bars (33 in Manitoba and 2 in North Western Ontario). Our 5 cardlocks are operating at limited capacity.”
The remaining Red River Co-op gas stations inside the city are likely to run out before the end of day.
Several Red River Co-op gas stations are out of gas inside Winnipeg and employees are directing drivers to the closest station that does.
An employee answering the phone at the 3755 Portage Ave. station confirmed they were out of unleaded fuel and directed a Global News reporter to the stations in Headingley or at 1925 Portage Ave.
When asked why they were out of fuel, the employee said they didn’t know.
Other stations, like the one on Route 90, had also posted 00.0 as their price of gas while dealing with shortages.
The clerk inside told 680 CJOB they believed the shortages were due to the ongoing labour dispute happening in Regina.
A sign posted on one of the Route 90 gas pumps stated that unleaded gasoline was temporarily unavailable and apologized for the inconvenience.
“Please see the Co-op Representative that can direct you to the closest location with fuel.”
There are about 20 stations in and around Winnipeg.
“We are extremely disappointed to share that your Red River Co-op gas bars are experiencing fuel shortages,” said Red River Co-op Ltd. spokesperson Kelly Romas.
“This is the direct result of Unifor’s illegal blockades that they’ve brought to our doorstep. Red River Co-op has no Unifor members under our employ, but they have brought their illegal blockades to the Winnipeg Shell and Esso fuel terminals in an attempt to block fuel from getting to Red River Co-op members and customers.”
A Unifor representative in Manitoba politely declined an interview request Thursday.
A notice sent to 680CJOB from a truck driver shows Co-op has restricted gasoline purchases for large trucks at Co-op Cardlocks across the prairies.
“A daily maximum of 300 litres of diesel and 100 litres of gasoline per card has been put in place … across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-op Refinery Complex would like to assure our customers that there is plenty of fuel available. However, Unifor’s illegal blockades are preventing us from getting it to you.”
Unifor and Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) have been in a labour dispute since Dec. 5, 2019. On Friday, the two sides met at the bargaining table but the talks ultimately failed.
Unifor restored a previous blockade that evening around the refinery, preventing fuel trucks from entering.
CRC said they’re confident there is a path to a deal.
“It was always going to take more than one day to close the gap between the two parties, and we encourage Unifor to return to the table,” said Brad DeLorey, spokesperson for CRC in a statement.
The employer says they were prepared to bargain for as long as it took, but further discussions can not take place since the blockades are back up.
“We are willing to talk and are hopeful the bargaining will resume in the near future,” said DeLorey.
On Thursday, an Alberta judge granted an interim injunction against the barricade.
“People have the right to peaceful pickets, but what Unifor is doing is anything but. These illegal blockades and dangerous behaviour exhibited by Unifor members has been brought to Winnipeg and Unifor is holding our co-operative hostage,” said Romas.
-With files from Mickey Djuric