As of late October, the 780 SAQ (Quebec’s crown corporation liquor stores) warehouse workers and those responsible for delivering bottles across Quebec have voted 94% in favour of pressure tactics up to and including strike action. This will lead to the disruption of the supply chain leaving SAQ stores high and dry.
“Management has forced us to go the strike route. The lack of respect for the membership is such that SAQ cannot retain its staff. Their salaries are no longer competitive, and those remaining behind have to work so much overtime that their health and safety are at risk,” said Joël Latour, president of CUPE 3535.
SAQ sales are $4 billion annually, and close to $2 billion is sent to the government to finance our public services.
“We are a crucial link in the chain that drives this Crown Corporation, and we are the least well paid overall. Something must be done to rectify this situation. The members are mobilized, motivated and ready to go, if necessary,” added Michel Gratton, national representative.
The union claims that management’s unwillingness to listen at the bargaining table is unacceptable, particularly in the wake of the very difficult year and a half everyone has been through. Recall that the SAQ was designated an essential service during the pandemic, and all members of CUPE 3535 went about their work unrelentingly under very trying conditions.
The last collective agreement expired on April 1, 2021.