Richardson’s Sask. oat milling staff ratify deal

Unionized staff spent eight weeks off the job this fall at Richardson Milling’s Martensville, Sask. oat plant. (

Unionized workers with Richardson International’s oat processing and grain milling plant at Martensville, Sask. are headed back to work after ratifying a new labour deal.

About three dozen Richardson Milling employees, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400, were locked out Sept. 10 after voting in late August to approve a strike.

The previous contract, which expired Oct. 31 last year, covered all the Martensville plant’s staff including maintenance workers, mill operators, shippers and receivers, power engineers, lab technicians and electricians.

Federal Labour Minister Kellie Leitch said in a release Tuesday the workers and company had negotiated their deal with help from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The new deal, retroactive from the previous contract’s expiry last year, “allows the employer and employees to resume their work supporting oat and grain processing, which contributes to the Canadian economy,” Leitch said.

The new contract was “overwhelmingly” supported by plant staff, UFCW said in a separate release Monday.

Details of the deal weren’t immediately available, though the union said the contract introduces a new “grid” system providing for annual wage increases for all staff.

The union previously said the company’s rejected offer from August “failed to address workers’ concerns regarding seniority rights, fair and equal pay and benefit entitlements.”

The workers, UFCW said last month, sought a deal which “ensures qualified employees are given first consideration for job vacancies before new hires, and that workers receive equal pay for equal work.”

The union last month also alleged Richardson was “trying to use scab labour to undermine the collective bargaining process.”

A spokesperson for Winnipeg-based Richardson wasn’t immediately available to comment Tuesday on the new contract.

Richardson Milling became what’s billed as the largest oat miller in North America after buying Viterra’s oat processing assets in 2012, during the Regina company’s takeover by commodity giant Glencore. — Network


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