A spokesperson for the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) said dozens of employees were temporarily laid off Monday morning, and that in the coming weeks that number will rise to “just less than 100 total.”
“We consulted with the union executive last week and this morning 52 layoff notices were given,” said Brad DeLorey, director of communications and public affairs for the Co-op Refinery Complex, in a statement Monday.
DeLorey said CRC management initially told the union that represents its employees, Unifor 594, that they were considering layoffs on April 24.
In their rationale, DeLorey said management considered “market conditions and COVID–19 restrictions”.
“These are only temporary, these individuals are very valuable to us and when market conditions return we will do everything we can to get them back to work,” DeLorey’s statement continued.
Unifor National executive assistant Scott Doherty called the layoffs “disappointing”, despite being advised that they were coming.
“It’s another example of what we think is management being out of touch with the industry. They’re saying there’s no need for the product,” Doherty said.
“There hasn’t been any other major layoffs in the industry since the outbreak of COVID, or the Saudi/Russia issue that affected the industry before COVID as well.”
Doherty added that the refinery’s annual maintenance turnaround could have influenced the decision, and that the union is confident the employees will eventually by brought back on board.
“I know the employer would probably cite that they were trying to find efficiencies and do things differently as part of contract negotiations,” he continued, “but at this point in time the only indication we have is that these are temporary layoffs.”
“They have the right to run the company how they wanna run the company and we’re just ensuring that they follow the collective agreement when it comes to layoffs.”