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Public Service Announcement: Labour Disruption Update

Public Service Announcement: Labour Disruption Update

October 7, 2019

SaskTel will not be allowing employees who are members of Unifor to return to work in the absence of a concluded collective agreement. SaskTel did not make this decision lightly, but management cannot provide the desired level of customer service or maintain the integrity of our networks for the people of Saskatchewan with unknown and intermittent walkouts.

Unifor has indicated to its members that returning to work on October 8, 2019, is a short-term measure and that they will only provide 24 hours’ notice before going on strike again. It takes the corporation up to 48 hours to mobilize the business back and forth to have the necessary processes, systems and accesses reinstated. This creates far too much uncertainty and the corporation needs to ensure we are able to maintain the integrity of our networks and serve our customers in a safe and secure manner.

SaskTel has found situations of configuration issues that occurred during the work to rule strike action last week that may have impacted our ability to televise live events, such as football games, and other live Pay-Per-View (PPV) events. It also appears there were fictitious orders created that may have potentially disrupted service to our customers.

SaskTel is also considering applying for an injunction to stop Unifor’s illegal labour disruption activities, such as preventing non-union employees from reporting to work at the SaskTel Contact Centres. While Unifor members have the right to strike, non-unionized workers also have the right to get to work. It is unacceptable that management employees are being prevented from entering their workplace and are reportedly being threatened for attempting to do so.

SaskTel remains committed to reaching an agreement and will make every effort to minimize the impact of a labour disruption to our customers. While SaskTel will do its best to continue to serve our customers, delays may be experienced as the primary focus will be on maintaining essential services.

Contract negotiations between Unifor and SaskTel have been ongoing since January 29, 2019 when initial proposals were exchanged. On March 25, 2019, Unifor advised SaskTel that, in their opinion, a bargaining impasse had been reached and that they would be applying to the Federal Minister of Labour’s office for conciliation. A conciliator was appointed and bargaining between SaskTel and Unifor continued until September 26, 2019. A tentative agreement was not reached.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank customers for their patience. Please see the attached notification to Unifor and the backgrounder for important customer information.

For more information, please contact:
Michelle Englot, SaskTel Director of External Communications
Phone: 306.777.4476