No to a “Quebec alcohol Amazon”

Employees at Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) regret the “Amazon-like” vision of the government company, which plans to deploy a new automated system for placing orders at its Montreal distribution center.

“We don’t want to work for a Quebec alcohol Amazon! said Lisa Courtemanche, President of the SAQ Store and Office Employees Union (SEMB-SAQ-CSN) in a press release.


Employees regret SAQ's Amazon vision

Photo Jean Michel Genois Gagnon

On May 5, the employees responsible for the SAQ.com platform learned that they would be transferred to the main warehouse at the distribution center in Montreal and will be changing their union membership.

The union believes that this restructuring, the first effects of which will be felt from September, could ultimately lead to the loss of “quality jobs in Quebec”.

“There is no job guarantee for all 53 permanent employees and even less for the 150 part-time employees. It’s unacceptable! Ms Courtemanche complained.

According to our information, part-time employees in particular could be affected. Some might be reassigned to other duties, particularly in stores.

proposal rejected

The union says it rejected SAQ’s original proposal, which “would have moved only a fraction of its 200 workers to the new facilities”.

The president instead proposes an approach “based on the decentralization of operations” that would avoid bringing bottles from Montreal that are already available in the regions. This would limit the environmental impact of transporting the goods.


Employees regret SAQ's Amazon vision

Photo Jean Michel Genois Gagnon

“We want to be consulted: we have solutions that allow for greater human development,” said Ms. Courtemanche.

No job losses

Last year, SAQ announced a $45.8 million investment, the largest in two decades, to expand and modernize its metropolitan facilities as part of its 2021-2023 modernization plan.

Eventually, this project aims to increase the online product offering to 20,000 and enable one-day delivery. As of Friday, there were 2,685 wines and spirits on SAQ.com.

The state-owned company assures that due to the shortage of workers, it needs all affected employees for order preparation and customer care in its branches.

“The consolidation of our unit picking activities will take place without job losses,” said spokeswoman Clémence Beaulieu Gendron.

“Our website for preparing online orders is at full capacity and does not allow us to respond to the growth of online sales,” she added.

The SEMB-SAQ-CSN has 5,500 members in Quebec.

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