REGINA, SK. - The unions representing 1,600 striking civic workers requested the assistance of a provincial department of labour conciliator to help break the impasse in the protracted contract dispute.
Union spokesperson Malcolm Matheson says the civic unions made the request yesterday in a letter to Doug Forseth, director of the labour relations and mediation branch in the department of labour.
“We want to get our members back to work with a fair collective agreement, so city services can be restored and people’s lives can return to normal,” says Matheson. “If a provincial conciliator can make this happen, why not request this assistance?”
However, the city flatly rejected the union’s request today. In a letter faxed to union negotiator Malcolm Matheson this afternoon, the city’s negotiator Wayne Sakires stated the city “will be advising Mr. Forseth that the Employer sees no benefit to the use of a third party under the circumstances.”
The city also refused the unions’ request for conciliation before the strike began.
“We continue to be disappointed by the lack of leadership shown by our elected civic officials. Clearly, they would rather prolong the strike than negotiate a fair settlement,” says Matheson.
“Our members need wage increases that keep pace with the cost-of-living. It’s that simple, but the city continues to offer 5 per cent and a lump sum payment. Who knew they cared so little for their unionized workers or Regina residents so dependent on city services.”