Union calls off strike as Viterra presents new offer to Saskatchewan employees

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The union representing 384 employees at Viterra’s grain elevators in Saskatchewan and another 65 staff at the company’s office in Regina has suspended previously-announced strike action pending a vote on a revised offer from the company.

Viterra updated its offer to members of the Grain and General Services Union (GSU) Locals 1 and 2 on Jan. 5 — the same day union members would have been in a position to go on strike after filing 72-hour notice on Jan. 2.

Ballots for a ratification vote on the new offer will be counted on Jan. 19, the union says.

The offer is a four-year agreement, and includes salary increases of 4.5% in year one, followed by 3.75% in year two, and 2.5% in years three and four, according to the company.

“We believe that we have provided an offer that is fair and reasonable, one that takes into account the needs of our employees, while balancing the needs of our business through long-term labour stability,” said Jordan Jakubowski, VP of Human Resources for Viterra Canada. “Throughout this process, we have been committed to bargaining in good faith, in keeping with our long history of working fairly and respectfully with our employees.”

The union is telling members to engage in a “work to rule” approach in the meantime.

“Our officers understand the concerns and frustrations of our members. The decision to suspend the strike action is a strategic move to give our members the chance to participate in the democratic process and have their voices heard through a ratification vote,” said GSU general secretary Steve Torgerson.

Related: Union representing Viterra staff serves 72-hour strike notice

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