REGINA, Sask. – Truckers working at the Co-Op Refinery in Regina, Sask., say picketers have been delaying and vandalizing trucks, breaking a court order that said they could not hold up drivers for more than five minutes.
Following a labor dispute at the refinery, around 800 union workers have been locked out of the complex after Unifor representatives issued a strike notice in early December.
The issue went to court after Co-Op claimed picketing workers were engaging in dangerous behavior, including blocking truck traffic, which led to the company filing an injunction against Unifor.
The accusations also led to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) releasing a statement saying picket lines were creating “trucking industry hazards” for drivers hauling in and out of the refinery.
“Trucking companies and their drivers do not make money if the wheels are not turning. These are private companies and STA members that haul for Co-Op and locking them down is having a negative impact,” said STA executive president Susan Ewart. “There are rules about how long drivers can be on duty. As they sit on the side of the road, the hours in which they can earn an income tick away. There is no wiggle room here, once they are out of time, they are out of time and done for the day.”
A Dec. 17 court order said picketers were only permitted to communicate with anyone coming in or out of the complex for a maximum of five minutes.
Reports from Global News indicates that drivers say they have been held up for up to 10 minutes with or without their permission, which violates the court injunction.
Some carriers also claim picketers have been vandalizing trucks by putting spikes in their tires.