Unifor says 'actions will escalate throughout the weekend' in Saskatchewan strike

REGINA — Striking workers at Crown corporations in Saskatchewan have announced new tactics following the government's decision to reject binding arbitration to resolve an outstanding dispute over pay.

Unifor, which represents approximately 5,000 workers at six Crown corporations including SaskPower and SaskTel, says in an email the union will distribute leaflets at SaskTel dealers across the province.

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The union says it's trying to encourage the public "to take their business elsewhere."

Unifor also says it will bolster the picket line at the Poplar River power plant in Coronach, Sask., and will only allow essential service workers to enter or leave.

Talks in the labour dispute resumed Friday, but Unifor national president Jerry Dias says there is an impasse over the government's offer of a five per cent pay increase over five years starting in the third year, which the union says amounts to a two-year wage freeze.

On Friday, the government said it has rejected the union's offer to settle the pay issue with binding arbitration.

The union said in Saturday's email that "actions will escalate throughout the weekend."

Last week, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency reached a tentative deal with Unifor Local 820, which has 138 members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2019.

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