After 14 arrests were made Monday night at the Co-op Refinery Complex, the City of Regina has come forward calling for a resolve to the labour dispute between Unifor and Federated Co-op.
Members of the union have fenced off the refinery, including blocking rail tracks and emergency exits with vehicles. There are now reports the union has put up layers of fences around the facility.
Fire Chief Layne Jackson said they have issued an order to remedy the contravention to the union after an emergency exit was padlocked.
“(A week ago) we had been working with them to ensure that we had clear and free access for emergency vehicles,” Jackson said. “That degraded (Monday), where we determined we needed to issue an order.”
Mayor Michael Fougere said he has had residents contact him with concerns over public safety and enforcement of the law.
“All of which is being done right now, they’re just voicing their concern about what is a very rapid escalation of intensity at the site,” Fougere said. “They’re concerned about what that means generally for the public, and I’ve been telling them that the police and fire (department) are there for public safety and to ensure the law is not broken, and we’ll move forward in that regard.”
Police Chief Evan Bray said the resolve to this issue will only come from both sides going to the bargaining table.
“I really feel like — without choosing sides saying– both sides are essentially holding our city hostage a little bit,” Bray said. “I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers in this city. I get it; labour disputes happen, I’ve been involved in them before in my past as well, but I think we have to maintain public safety in a way that doesn’t cause challenges elsewhere in the city.”
Regina Police and Fire will be monitoring and investigating the situation at the refinery as it continues to unfold.
The 14 union protesters have all been charged with mischief. Only three of the protesters that were arrested are from Regina.