A new development emerged in the simmering dispute between Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and the union representing its workers at a fuel distribution terminal in southern Alberta on Friday as a judge strengthened an order regarding those behind a blockade at the facility.
In a news release, FCL said it returned to court on Friday because Unifor was not following an interim injunction court order requiring the union to end its blockade of the terminal.
FCL said it requested “an amendment to the interim injunction order to add police enforcement clauses that better aid the RCMP to enforce the order, and to add a clause that allows a bailiff to remove the fences, vehicles and other obstacles blocking entry to the facility if Unifor fails to remove them.”
“Justice Campbell granted these requests to amend the interim injunction order, stating Unifor is not above the law,” FCL said. “She stated that this flouting of court orders is completely unacceptable; it cannot and will not be tolerated in Alberta.
“She ordered a bailiff may remove the blockade to the Carseland Terminal as early as Sunday at noon if Unifor hasn’t done so by that time.”
FCL said the judge also “clearly defined two picket zones where picketers are allowed to stand.”
Global News has reached out to Unifor’s media team for comment on Friday’s developments.
The original injunction request regarding the labour unrest at the fuel facility in Carseland, Alta., was granted on Thursday. Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer weighed in and said he expected the RCMP to enforce the law.
The unrest relates to the ongoing tension that began when 700 refinery workers were locked out of a Co-op refinery in Regina on Dec. 5 after the union issued strike notice.
The picket line in Carseland began about two weeks ago in support of the FCL refinery workers in Regina.
Unifor picketers have told Global News that those protesting at the Carseland fuel terminal are allowing farmers and those with personal vehicles to access the gas pumps.
Unifor has accused FCL of not bargaining in good faith and rejected a recent proposal that included $20 million in pension savings for the company. Pensions are one of the key issues in the dispute.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has said he’s prepared to appoint a special mediator and that a negotiated settlement is the best option to end the lockout.
Unifor Local 594 dismissed that idea in an open letter posted to Twitter on Thursday. It accused the company of moving the goalposts during negotiations.
On Thursday, FCL’s executive vice-president, Vic Huard, said the Regina refinery has been operating normally with replacement workers but that blockades such as the one in Carseland are hampering the company’s efforts to distribute fuel.
He said Federated Co-op is the only retail fuel supplier in some communities and that stations are seeing supply shortages across Western Canada.
NOTE: A division of Unifor represents some Global News employees.
–With files from Global News’ Adam MacVicar and Melissa Gilligan and The Canadian Press