The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), once a very popular employer, is also feeling the effects of the labor shortage, with exhausted employees having to work multiple hours of overtime to avoid closing shifts, as arrived in Rivière-du-Loup this week.
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The President of SAQ’s Shop and Office Workers’ Union (SEMB), Lisa Courtemanche, confirms that this branch had to change its opening hours from 12pm to 3pm on Monday due to a staff setback.
While the situation may seem trivial, it could just be the tip of the iceberg. Ms Courtemanche says that for two years across Quebec, store managers have occasionally had to open later or close earlier. Similar cases have been confirmed in protocol in Matane, Lac-Mégantic and in the greater Montreal area.
“It is not trivial what is happening. I’ve been at SAQ for 25 years and this is the first time I’ve seen it,” says the president, who recalls “people were pushing the doors” to enter the SAQ.
For its part, the Société des alcools du Québec does not press the panic button, declaring that the event that took place this week in Bas-Saint-Laurent was exceptional and was due to a temporary staff shortage.
As in many areas, the labor shortage is causing tensions in the workforce. Employees must work 9 to 12 hours straight, skipping breaks and meals to avoid service disruption.
“The shortage hits us hard,” says Pascale Sauvageau, union representative of the Capitale-Nationale Est. This confirms that the trades are helping each other to fill in the empty time slots.
team in trouble
“I’ve seen Thursday nights with two people and I’ve walked everywhere,” she gave as an example, specifying that in principle there would have to have been at least three or four people to meet SAQ’s service standards.
Ms. Sauvageau also mentions that employees dare not refuse overtime, lest they cause trouble for their work team.
2020, The newspaper Told them overtime paid to SAQ employees and managers hit a record $15.1 million.