Regina's police chief says an ongoing labour dispute at the Co-op refinery is distracting officers from more serious public safety issues.
Evan Bray says police response to the lockout is taxing resources because officers are assigned daily to be at the plant and do investigative work.
The dispute between Federated Co-operatives Limited and Unifor coincides with four homicides in the city this month — three of them in the past week.
Bray says the spate of killings also puts pressure on police resources.
Last week, officers charged 14 Unifor members with mischief as the union blocked entrance into the refinery; the union was also fined $100,000 in court for violating an injunction.
The company locked out more than 700 workers in early December after they voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.
The main issue is pension plan changes the company wants to make.
“It’s a frustrating topic for me, if I’m being honest," Bray said Tuesday.
“It’s a distraction away from what I think (police) should be focusing on.”
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said he's hopeful a settlement can be reached to solve the impasse.
Unifor leaders and the company's CEO, Scott Banda, were to have met privately on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2020
The Canadian Press