Canadian Manufacturing

Workers at Sask. oat mill on picket line after being locked out

Main point of contention is wages, with union calling for across-the-board increases from management

MARTENSVILLE, Sask.—Nearly three dozen members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Local 1400 have set up picket lines outside the Richardson Milling Ltd. oat mill just north of Martensville, Sask.

The employees were locked out Sept. 10, five days after the union issued strike notice to management.

The main point of contention is wages, with the union contending a lot of the operators and tradespeople are paid significantly less than others in the same line of work.

Under the current collective agreement, Richardson said employees are eligible for pay increases based on performance.

However, the union is calling for across-the-board wage increases.

The workers’ contract expired in October of last year, and the union and employer have been in negotiations for the past ten months.

Richardson said company managers have been flown in to keep operating the mill.

The company bought the former Viterra Inc. mill in May of last year.

Viterra was bought by Glencore plc in late 2012.

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