780 SAQ warehouse and delivery workers across Quebec have voted 94 per cent in favour of increasing pressure tactics up to and including strike action, which would break the supply chain and leave Quebec liquor stores high and dry.
“Management has forced us to go the strike route. The lack of respect for our members 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,” denounced Joël Latour, president of the Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses de la SAQ (CUPE 3535).
SAQ sales are $4 billion annually, and close to $2 billion is sent to the government to finance public services.
“We are a crucial link in the chain that drives this Crown Corporation, and we are, by far, the least well paid overall. Something must be done to rectify this situation. The members are mobilized, motivated and ready to go on strike to achieve their ends,” added Michel Gratton, CUPE union 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.