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John Roil appointed as independent mediator in Gander labour dispute

The provincial government has brought in John Roil as an independent mediator in the labour dispute between D-J Composites and its employees in Gander. File photo
The provincial government has brought in John Roil as an independent mediator in the labour dispute between D-J Composites and its employees in Gander. File photo

GANDER, NL – Advanced Education, Skills and Labour Minister announced John Roil has been selected as independent mediator in the labour dispute between D-J Composites and its aerospace employees in Gander.

The workers, members of Unifor Local 597, have been locked out since December 2016.

The appointment of a mediator is an additional effort to resolve the labour dispute, a news release from the provincial government indicated on Friday.

The province has provided conciliation services to the company and union since August 2016.

“Mr. Roil has extensive training and experience in advanced mediation and arbitration which will be of great value to the parties,” Hawkins said.

“This is an excellent opportunity to resolve outstanding issues. I urge the parties to make a determined effort to work with Mr. Roil to bring an end to the dispute.”

Roil, who has law degrees from Dalhousie University and the University of London, was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1972 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988.

A resident of Corner Brook, Roil was senior legal counsel with the Wells Inquiry in 2009, which looked into offshore helicopter safety following the crash of Cougar Flight 491.

Since then he has been engaged on a full-time basis as a consensual third-party neutral chosen by the parties and also has accepted appointments on ad hoc investigative assignments.

Union welcomes appointment

The provincial Labour Relations Board found D-J Composites, an American-based company, guilty of bad faith bargaining in May of this year.

In a news release Friday, Unifor said its bargaining committee is looking forward to working with Roil to get workers back on the job with a fair collective agreement.

“We can only hope that Roil will be able to bring his considerable skill to reach a fair collective agreement in what has been a very long and very difficult ten months for these 32 aerospace workers,” said Lana Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic regional director.

Unifor officials met with Hawkins in September and requested he use his authority under the Labour Relations Act to appoint a mediator to try and resolve the dispute or report back on the obstacles to a resolution.

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