Western Canadian fuel haulers hold protest against Unifor blockades in Regina

Truckers who haul fuel for Federated Co-operatives Limited and Co-op Refinery Complex protested against Unifor's blockade around the refinery downtown Regina on Thursday.
Truckers who haul fuel for Federated Co-operatives Limited and Co-op Refinery Complex protested against Unifor's blockade around the refinery downtown Regina on Thursday. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

A group of truck drivers who haul fuel for the Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-op Refinery Complex were protesting in Regina over Unifor’s blockades around the refinery, Thursday.

The Independent Lease Operators, made up of a number of trucking companies such as C.S. Day Transport Ltd., were doing laps around the downtown core including the police station in protest.

READ MORE: Homes of Co-op refinery managers vandalized with paintballs: CRC

“We’re getting a little bit frustrated and fed up with the illegal blockade at the refinery that is stopping our business from being able to do our work,” said Heather Day, C.S. Day Transport Ltd. president.

“Some of our trucks have been parked for 18 days now. The gates were briefly opened last night, but there are now seven trucks that were trying to get loads of fuel stuck.

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“Those guys have hearts of gold and as soon we got word at 3:30 in the morning we went straight in to try and get some fuel and Unifor locked them in.”

Day said there are currently seven trucks caught inside Co-op’s loading terminal at Ninth Avenue North and one inside the McDonald Street loading terminal.

READ MORE: 4 Unifor Local 594 picketers arrested at Regina’s Co-op refinery: police

“There in there detained against their will, can’t get out. Unifor put the fences back up and chained them all together,” Day said.

Day said Thursday’s protest was about bringing attention to what drivers are currently going through, stuck in the middle of this dispute.

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“It’s really just to raise awareness and shine a spotlight on the illegal tactics being used by Unifor. They are holding all of Western Canada hostage at this point,” Day said.

“Fuel outages are happening. There was a major station in Winnipeg that ran out of fuel yesterday and more, from that I understand, ran out this morning. It will not be very long until those impacts are seen more widely across the prairies.

READ MORE: Most Co-op stations out of gas in Winnipeg due to Regina blockades

“There is so much fuel-ready to be shipped; it’s just that trucks cannot get in there to deliver it.”

Regina police said they did not receive any notice regarding the protest, but have since reached out to the group to learn their plans.

Police said the group did not apply for a permit, which they would only need if they were planning to block streets.

“Our expectation is that, as professional drivers, they will obey the rules of the road, obey traffic signals and not impede other traffic,” Regina police said in a statement.

Police said they seized 31 vehicles from the refinery beginning on Wednesday night and have removed other vehicles blocking the gates since then.

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READ MORE: FCL granted court injunction to stop blockade at Alberta fuel-distribution terminal

They said officers were not involved in opening any of the gates.

“They [truckers] all have families to support and it’s concerning this situation is being allowed to continue,” Day said.

“We do respect the collective bargaining process and unions have the right picket and protest, but these tactics are crossing the line.”

Co-op locked out its employees, represented by Unifor Local 594, on Dec. 5.

A division of Unifor represents some Global news employees.