Workers at 13 SQDC branches went on strike on Saturday

(Montreal) Employees at the Quebec Cannabis Society, affiliated with the Confederation of National Trade Unions (SQDC-CSN), called a one-day strike at 13 branches on Saturday.

Posted at 11:10 am
Updated at 2:20 p.m

Clara Descurninges
The Canadian Press

“Currently, only the Sainte-Foy branch is closed due to the surprise strike,” the SQDC confirmed via email, adding that the service in the other branches was “provided by the managers”.

The day of strike is the third in a series of five days voted on by union members on June 5th. It was triggered on the weekend of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, when stores are usually very busy.

“We have a ridiculous salary offer on the table, even insulting, so obviously we’re asking for equality with the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec),” argued the union’s president, Maxime Nadeau, in a telephone interview.

He explained, “Our hourly rate at entry is $17.12 an hour and it takes us about eight years to get to 12e Step set at $21.23 per hour. For this reason, we always claim equality with those who do essentially the same work as we do,” employees of the Société des alcools du Québec explained in a press release.

In comparison, the starting salary at SAQ is $22.59 according to the 2021 collective agreement.

While the hourly rate remains the stumbling block in the negotiations, Nadeau says questions “in terms of schedules, in terms of team leaders,” also remain.

“In general, recruitment is going pretty well, but SQDC isn’t keeping its people,” he said. Suddenly they returned, quickly becoming disillusioned when they saw the working conditions. »

He urged SQDC and the Treasury Department to heed the unions’ demands while negotiations were due to resume on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Otherwise, “we still have a lot of surprises ahead of us, if we have to go that far, we still have a lot of ideas to disrupt the activities of the SQDC if necessary, but we hope it doesn’t come to that.”

He quoted the words of Prime Minister François Legault, who predicted on June 12 that, faced with labor shortages, “companies that are unable to pay wages above $15 or $20 [l’heure] will get into trouble”.

For his part, the employer “recognises the right of employees to exercise leverage in the ongoing negotiations. The company remains available for negotiation and our desire is to reach a negotiated agreement to the satisfaction of the parties involved. »

The SQDC-CSN represents approximately 200 employees spread over 16 branches.

Unionized members of CUPE, affiliated with the FTQ, are already on strike. They first stopped work for a few hours in April before going on an indefinite strike on May 20. CUPE represents 300 union members in 26 sectors. However, 22 of these 26 are affected by his strike. In these, too, the managers ensure the continuity of services, albeit with reduced opening hours.

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