Moose Jaw XL Workers Still Out

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Locked-out workers at XL Foods’ beef packing plant at Moose Jaw, Sask. on Oct. 15 voted to reject their Alberta parent company’s latest offer and keep walking the line.

The workers, who have been without a contract since the end of January, came back from a five-month shutdown last month to a company-imposed lockout and then rejected an XL Foods contract offer in late September.

XL submitted a new offer to the workers after talks Oct. 7-8 between union and company officials.

The members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) Local 1400 voted on the offer, with about 93.5 per cent of the 140 voting workers rejecting the proposal, according to Norm Neault, president of Local 1400 in Regina.

Neault said the new offer stood pat on the company’s previous proposals to remove severance pay, end a cap on overtime hours and cut maximum vacation time from five weeks to four.

The company also proposes new limits on guaranteed hours of work, Neault said. Under their previous agreement, employees were guaranteed 37 hours a week for 47 weeks and 32 per week for the remaining five. XL now proposes 37 hours a week for 40 weeks and 32 per week for the remaining 12.

The company now also proposes a six-year contract, up from the previous four years, in which workers would see a pay increase of $1.75 an hour above the base rate over the six-year period, starting with an increase upon ratification, then increases in years three through six, with no retroactive pay upon signing.

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