Regina’s police chief says the city is being held “hostage” by a labour dispute between the Co-op Refinery and the union representing 700 of its workers.
Evan Bray says officers arrested and charged 14 people with mischief yesterday after access was blocked to the plant.
Unifor had announced it was going to prevent fuel trucks from leaving in an effort to shut down the facility.
The union’s national president, Jerry Dias, was among those arrested.
Workers were locked out in early December after the union issued a strike notice; one of the main issues in the dispute is pensions.
Bray says he’s not picking sides, but 50 officers were called to the refinery yesterday and it’s not fair to the city’s taxpayers.
“Both sides are essentially holding our city hostage a little bit,” Bray said Tuesday.
He said officers are deciding whether additional charges will be laid, as Co-op was granted a court injunction preventing the union from stopping vehicles trying to get in and out of the refinery for more than 10 minutes.
The union argued Monday that the blockade didn’t violate the judge’s order because it was being done by members of the national union, not local members.
Bray said most of the 14 people arrested are not from Saskatchewan. They are to appear in court Wednesday.