Monday morning | Workers’ strike in Al-Saqi warehouses

(Montreal) The union that represents about 800 employees in Société des alcools warehouses as well as those tasked with supplying branches called an indefinite strike Monday morning at 5 a.m.


Leah Levesque
Canadian Press

The FTQ’s local Canadian Federation of Public Employees (CUPE) clarified Sunday that it reached the decision following the latest developments in its discussions with SAQ management.

“Right now, it’s a no-brainer. But we’re in talks with the employer and we’ll negotiate on Tuesday. I heard the employer tell me he’s arriving on Tuesday with great offers. We’ll see,” CUPE counselor Michel Gratton said in an interview. Sunday.

The warehouse workers’ union withdrew for a day on November 16.

The one-day strike has cut off the supply chain for branches, which in turn remain open, because the workers are members of another union.

On November 16, SAQ’s management made it clear that it had to adapt to the situation as best it could, in order to “minimize the effects” of the strike on its activities and on customers.

SAQ management also clarified that deliveries scheduled for that day were canceled, and deliveries for the rest of the week were at risk of delays.

Maybe not for long

Although the strike has been declared indefinitely, a negotiation meeting with SAQ management is scheduled for Tuesday. If the union gets the commitment it wants from management, Gratton said, it can end its strike immediately.

The union counselor explained that he surrendered to the strike, after a decision by the management of the Islamic Affairs Office to seek to do business with other warehouses with the workforce.

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Since workers are not on strike, SAQ management can do so in parallel with the tasks that its employees perform, Mr. Gratton explained.

So the union decided to call a strike, which would lead to a ban on such practice by the employer, as it would then include resorting to substitute workers during the strike.

“They are forcing us to strike, because if I am not on strike, they have the right to use people to either empty or unload containers and bottle plates, and do labor work at the same time. If I am on strike, they officially turn into husks,” Gratton explained.

The Labor Code prohibits the use of substitute workers, known as bushings, while on strike.

There are several points of contention in the course of these negotiations, including wages, health and safety at work, the precarious situation of many employees, overtime and group insurance, Mr. Gratton emphasized.

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