Economy

Crown employees walk picket line as strike begins

Crown employees walk picket line as strike begins”

She said it is a hard situation for workers and said SaskTel hires a lot of part-time employees as well as contract workers, putting Crown workers who rely on regular work hours to make a living in a challenging position.

The CEOs of seven Crown corporations say customers may experience delays if Friday's strike continues.

Crown workers at SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, Securtek, Direct West, SaskWater and the Water Security Agency have all walked off the job.

At a press conference, Jerry Dias, president of Unifor National, told media members it was clear that the Crowns and the union were at an impasse.

MLAs in Saskatchewan received a 2.3 per cent wage increase in 2019, according to Unifor.

The premier said, over the course of the last five years, MLA's have taken a 3.9 per cent increase.

"That will not be done publicly, but rather at each bargaining table", Swystun said. The union says it recently offered to accept lump sum payments in lieu of a base wage increase in the expired years of their contract.

He acknowledged there is a framework the Crowns are working from in their negotiations but said it doesn't amount to a wage freeze. "Unifor has presented creative offers to find a path forward, but the government seems intent on forcing a strike". "This is not a wage freeze", Harpauer said on September 28.

Unifor said the offer is for zero per cent, zero per cent, one per cent, two per cent and in some cases and an additional year at two per cent over five years.

"We're just asking for fairness and the basic cost of living", she said.

The union's last proposal was eight days ago, said Dias, who added that there had been no response.

"This is a stand-off and it's something that frankly the corporations are powerless to fix", Dias said.

"All we need is for the government to give the ok that they are ready to bargain", she said.

Moe says his government is not considering back-to-work legislation and respects the workers' right to strike. Essential services agreements and business continuity plans were set in place at all Crowns to ensure vital services continue in the event of a strike.

"We've offered inflation protection, period", Dias said.

In a statement, SaskTel said all stores will be closed throughout the labour disruption, and any changes to personal plans must be made online. SaskTel will also be unable to activate new business services, excluding wireless.



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