Employees serve Viterra with strike notice

Employees serve Viterra with strike notice
Jan 04, 2024

Workers could be on strike by Friday afternoon

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

More than 400 Viterra employees in Saskatchewan could be on strike by Friday afternoon.

Grain and General Services Union (GSU) Locals 1 and 2, which represents 436 employees, provided Viterra Canada with a 72-hour strike notice on Jan. 2 and informed Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan of the intent to strike.

GSU will be in a strike position on Jan. 5 at 2:00 p.m. if a deal isn’t reached.

“This strike notice given by GSU members underscores the urgency and gravity of the situation,” GSU General Secretary Steve Torgerson said in a statement. “If significant progress is not made during the upcoming negotiations on January 3 and 4, GSU members are prepared to initiate strike action to secure a fair collective agreement.”

The two sides have been negotiating since the beginning of 2023, with GSU rejecting Viterra’s latest offer on Dec. 15, saying it doesn’t address items like pay improvements, earned days off, working from home and weekend booking pay.

For its part, Viterra is committed to the bargaining process and “providing its employees with competitive pay and benefits within a performance-based process,” the company said in a Jan. 2 statement.

Viterra also said it may consider a lockout in the event an agreement isn’t reached.

A lockout differs from a strike because a lockout is meant to put pressure on the employees whereas a strike is designed to put pressure on the employer.

Should disruptions occur on Friday, Viterra is prepared.

“In the event of a strike or lockout, Viterra has contingency plans in place to minimize disruptions to its customers,” the company’s release says. “Any changes to location hours, or operations will be communicated.”

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