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Blockades being removed at Co-op refinery on 9th Avenue North: Regina police

Regina police are taking down the blockades at Co-op Refinery Complex on 9th Avenue North, between McDonald and Winnipeg Streets. Jonathan Guignard / Global news

Regina police say they will continue to block traffic at Ninth Avenue North between Winnipeg Street and McDonald Street, while fences, pallets, sheds, vehicles and other debris around the Co-op refinery are being removed.

Once the area is clear of any structure and debris from the City of Regina property adjacent to the refinery, picketers will be allowed back, according to police.

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Police say the decision is “in accordance with the Dec. 24, 2019, Queen’s Bench Court Order by Justice J. McMurtry.”

According to Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor’s national president, police began blocking entrances at about 11 p.m. on Thursday night.

“They held the line there all night. Early this morning, they are now allowing Co-op trucks to go through,” Doherty said.

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“Regina Police Service came in, put up their blockades and instructed the Co-op security team to go in and take all the fences down.”

Doherty said all Unifor picketers have gathered at Gate 7 where they continue to block access into the refinery.

“We put all of our people there to ensure nobody got arrested last night and we are determining what our next steps are,” Doherty said.

Click to play video: 'Blockades come down at Co-op refinery on 9th Avenue North'
Blockades come down at Co-op refinery on 9th Avenue North
“Once again, Regina police have taken a side, allowed Co-op to have free access to the refinery and determined they had the right to do this even though [Regina Police Chief] Evan Bray said earlier in the week the only person he took instruction from was the court and that court case was yesterday.”
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In Thursday’s court case, the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) asked a Regina judge to impose a fine of $1 million on Unifor Local 594 plus jail time for its high-ranking leaders.

READ MORE: Unifor’s lead negotiator arrested by Regina police, charged with mischief

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The judge reserved his decision. His decision will be provided at a later date.

The province continues to offer Co-op and Unifor a special mediator “to assist in bringing both parties back to the bargaining table to reach a negotiated settlement,” the Saskatchewan government issued in a statement on Friday.

“Special mediators have a track record of success in Saskatchewan when both parties were willing to come to the table as equal partners. In fact, since forming government, every appointment of a special mediator has resulted in the parties being able to reach a successful agreement. “

Regina police are allowing Co-op fuel trucks into the refinery. Stewart Manhas / Global News

As for binding arbitration, previously requested by Unifor, the province said it cannot be imposed under the existing legislation.

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“The province’s offer of appointing a special mediator contingent on the removal of the illegal blockades still stands,” the province’s statement read.

A division of Unifor represents some Global news employees.

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