Highlighting Sustainability

December 20, 2019

It is tiring how often the Company talks about sustainability in our workplace and now the media. 

The Company rhetoric states that we are unsustainable, and we need to make serious cuts to employee benefits, or else the Refinery’s existence will be threatened. The Company claims the only path to sustainability and competitiveness in the Industry, is to not pay a dime more than their competitors.

We have all heard it over and over, but let’s look more closely at the facts.

If you browse FCL’s website, you will find many interesting tidbits.  FCL boasts that the Refinery began with eight farmers who believed they would produce and distribute their own petroleum products in 1935 and CRC has now grown to become one of Canada’s largest integrated refining and upgrading complexes.

Flash forward to 2019; and the Co-op Refinery has grown into a Western Canadian behemoth, with over 500 gas stations in four provinces, and diesel churning through the majority of every farm on the Prairies. It’s a testament to the success of the Refinery, and the hard work of the unionized employees  that give endlessly to continue that success.

We’ve come a long way. That’s 84 years of growth and sustainability.  We have survived 84 years of pipelines getting built around us, of fluctuating interest rates and market pressures, and 84 years of cyclical oil prices. Growing, adapting, and learning are all challenges every business must face.

So how did we suddenly become unstainable?

FCL’s website has a list of “2018-2019 Sustainability Highlights” which includes $10.7 Billion in Sales, $1.1 Billion in Profit, $789 Million in Patronage to local Co-ops and $449 Million in Salaries and Wages. 

If these are the “Sustainability Highlights”, what are the unsustainable highlights? We couldn’t find any. 

The 2018 Salaries & Wages of $449 Million includes: Wages and Salaries, Statutory and other Company benefits and all Pension costs (DB and DC).  This is all laid out in FCL’s financial statements. So, why are they telling us we need to take cuts in our benefits? 

Is FCL paying more in wages and salaries than other companies??

Second Wind Consultants list the fact that if you pay 15-30 percent of Gross Sales into salaries and wages, your business is likely in solid standing.  This varies by industry but seems to be an average safe zone. Their website also states that “A payroll that exceeds 30% of gross revenue (Sales) is one of the most common reasons businesses fail”. (www.secondwindconsultants.com)

Let’s look at our numbers:

2018 FCL Gross Sales of $10.7 Billion and FCL Salaries and Wages of $449 Million which equals 4.2% of Sales.  This is way under the 15-20% benchmark.  Sounds sustainable.

We are constantly told that we are being compared to our peers so let’s look at one of our peers.  In 2018, Suncor made $39.59 Billion in Gross Sales and paid $3.26 Billion in Salaries and Wages which equals 8.2% of Gross Sales.  So, in comparison, FCL is paying less in Salaries and Wages then Suncor.

Are we being lied to? 

The numbers don’t lie. We aren’t being paid too much, if anything maybe we aren’t being paid enough. But that’s okay. Our membership has made bargaining for the future, rather than the present, a priority. Pension security compared to wage increases and benefits, because we are here for the long haul. Our dedicated workforce put the care in career and are invested in the Co-op Refinery.

It’s time the Co-op lived up to their promises and invested in its’ people.



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