Locked-Out Workers Block Entrances to Canada's Co-op Refinery

Reuters, January 21, 2020

Locked-out workers at the Co-op Refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan blockaded the facility on Monday, halting the movement of workers and trucks, the union and owner said. Federated Cooperatives Ltd (FCL), which owns and operates the refinery, locked out 800 workers on Dec. 5 in a dispute over pensions, but has kept western Canada’s third-largest oil refinery operating with replacement workers and managers. Unifor, which represents the workers, said that hundreds of union activists had surrounded the refinery, effectively shutting it down.

The lockout comes as western Canadian oil producers in Saskatchewan and Alberta struggle to move crude to U.S. refiners, their main market, due to congested pipelines. FCL confirmed that blockades at the refinery’s entrances prevented people or trucks from passing in or out and said they violated a court injunction. Brad DeLorey, a spokesman for FCL, said the actions were causing delays but the refinery remained fully operational.

The Co-op Refinery, which can process 135,000 barrels of oil per day, makes gasoline, propane and asphalt, among other products.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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