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No Viterra strike for now

No Viterra strike for now

Employees are under work-to-rule as the union considers the company’s latest offer

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Grain and General Services Union (GSU) has suspended strike action for more than 400 Viterra employees as the union considers the company’s latest offer.

Viterra presented GSU with its most recent offer on Jan. 5, the same day 436 Viterra employees were scheduled to begin a strike. Viterra also considered locking out employees if a deal couldn’t be reached.

The offer is a four-year agreement that increases pay by 13.25 per cent over the length of the contract.

GSU asked for a 5 per cent increase in the first year of the agreement while Viterra countered with a 4.5 per cent offer. But in year two, Viterra would provide a 3.75 per cent pay increase compared to the 3.25 per cent increase GSU asked for.

Both sides presented 2.5 per cent increases in the final two years of the agreement.

“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,” Jordan Jakubowski, VP of human resources for Viterra Canada, said in a statement. “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.”

Viterra employees will vote on the offer and GSU will count the ballots on Jan. 19.

During the ratification process, employees will engage in work to rule. This means workers will strictly perform their required duties without taking on any additional work outside of their contractual obligations.

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,” GSU General Secretary Steve Torgerson said in a statement.

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