Why Banda doesn’t want a deal

February 7, 2020

Maybe we have put too much faith in the co-operative values we continually hear about over the course of our careers at the Co-op Refinery, but listening to the disrespectful proposals the Company put forward last week, it is quite evident that corporate greed is the driving force behind this lockout. 

We are at a point where we should be working together to end this dispute, get the Refinery back on track for yet another record profit year, but the Company decided to double-down and increase their attacks on workers and their families. 

The Company’s decision to turn bargaining on its head and move the goalposts yet again, is a directive that could only come from one person, FCL CEO Scott Banda, who has up until recently remained suspiciously quiet on the lockout at the Co-op Retailing System’s golden goose, the Co-op Refinery. And the Co-op brand is hanging on by a thread because of it. 

When the Company’s proposals regarding eliminating the Master Operators, attacking the Maintenance Compliment, and job security for all members, it was a clear sign that shows the disconnect between Scott Banda and the workers that earn the profits for the Co-op Retailing System. 

If the Union did the inexplicable and agreed to these proposals, it would severely jeopardize the safety of the Co-op Refinery. It’s disturbing that Banda is even attempting to have this discussion. 

It is hard to believe that Banda in all his wisdom, would use the safety of the refinery, and the people of Regina, as a bargaining chip in this dispute. Those tactics are not becoming of a competent CEO in any business, let alone a Co-operative. 

Our Local Union is unique; we are a membership that understands co-operative values.  

We understand what it means to give back to the community, because we are the community. Our Union has been proudly serving Regina, and all of Western Canada for over 78 years. 

When Scott Banda takes the position like he did January 31st at the bargaining table, and February 3rd during his speech, it is a slap in the face to his employees and the principles and values that this refinery was built on. This is no way to treat workers or families. 

Scott Banda needs to stop aligning himself with the values of unsavory Yellow Vest movement, who are largely viewed as a racist group and reaffirm his loyalty to the workers. It’s time to stop putting profits before people and return to the bargaining table in a meaningful way. If Banda can’t make that commitment, Premier Scott Moe needs to force them back to the table with binding arbitration. 

We have offered binding arbitration as a solution to this dispute that has dragged on for far too long, but Banda has refused to agree to let an independent third-party to arbitrate an end to this Lockout. It’s evident that Banda is scared of this process because it ends in a deal for workers. Banda doesn’t want a deal; he wants to bust our Union and that’s sad beyond belief. 

The Company wasn’t bargaining with the Union when there were no injunctions or barricades, and that’s on Banda. The Company keeps moving the goalposts on what it takes to get a deal, and that’s on Banda. The Company continues to resist our offer of binding arbitration and drag out this unnecessary Lockout even longer, and that’s on Banda too. 

This Lockout and mistreatment of workers is all on Scott Banda. 

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