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Over 50 layoffs expected within next 6 months at Co-op Refinery in Regina

Federated Co-operative Limited approached the City of Regina to purchase some land to build a plant near the Co-op Refinery Complex. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

Some workers at the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina are waiting to see if they are part of a group of layoffs expected during the coming months.

CRC announced on Monday it is anticipating laying off 54 of its employees represented by Unifor Local 594 within the next six months.

Read more: Layoffs coming at Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina: union

The company shared in a release that the process will follow the exercise of employee bumping rights, which is done internally based on seniority and qualifications.

“This is a difficult decision to reduce our workforce as many good people and their families will be impacted,” said Vice President of Refinery Operations Gil Le Dressay in the company’s statement.

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“We have tried to minimize the number of people affected by this workforce reduction. However, our business is not immune from the challenges our industry is facing. We must make changes to ensure the long-term sustainability of our refinery and to protect as many jobs as we can in the future.”

Permanent layoff notices will be given to impacted workers at the end of the bumping process and terms of the collective bargaining agreement will apply, according to the company.

Read more: 52 employees laid off from Co-op refinery Monday, more to come: management

CRC said this decision was made once they had undertaken appropriate steps to ensure their workforce reduction would not impact both the safety and reliability at the refinery.

“This will impact some very good people,” said Brad DeLorey, director of communications and public affairs for CRC. “We also can’t lose sight of the fact that our industry is changing. We have found operational efficiencies as well as the fact that we are transitioning to a low carbon economy.”

This comes after Unifor 594 revealed in May of this year that the CRC gave formal notice to the union regarding an anticipated reduction to the number of permanent in-scope positions employed at the refinery.

“It’s not great for us as a local. That’s nearing 10 per cent of our membership,” stated Unifor Local 594 President Nathan Kraemer in an interview on Monday. “For the individuals affected, obviously it’s even worse.”

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Kraemer said the complete picture indicates that 159 jobs will be eliminated after impacted employees received notification from Co-op on Tuesday.

He explained how CRC was able to get the majority through attrition.

“Fifty-four is the number of layoffs, but they’re getting rid of 159 jobs. Over 20 per cent of our pre-lockout numbers,” wrote Kraemer in an update over email sent Tuesday. “They’re eliminating the very top jobs in the plant that are typically filled by the most experienced workers.”

In May, the union said that CRC was looking at eliminating 87 positions in various areas throughout the facility.

Click to play video: 'Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex, Unifor Local 594 reach tentative agreement' Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex, Unifor Local 594 reach tentative agreement
Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex, Unifor Local 594 reach tentative agreement – Jun 18, 2020

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