Members of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), who have been on strike for six months, took advantage of the first day of the opening session of Parliament at the Quebec National Assembly to remind government of their demands regarding working conditions, which are comparable to those encountered in retailing rather than in Crown Corporations.
The 300 employees represented by CUPE 5454 are demanding working conditions befitting a Crown Corporation. At present, SQDC employees only earn $17 an hour when they are hired. More than 60% of them are casual, have few benefits, unstable schedules, and unpredictable incomes.
Leaders of CUPE Quebec went to the National Assembly to lend their support to strikers and draw the attention to the CAQ government to the unfair situation its members find themselves in.
“For far too long, these workers have taken to the streets to simply ask for respectful treatment they deserve. If an agreement is to be reached, they will have to stand up to the stubbornness of the Crown Corporation,” said Patrick Gloutney, president of CUPE Quebec.
“These employees live with constant insecurity due to the paltry wages they earn. In addition, most positions are part-time, and many must work a second job. Mr. Legault says he wants the government to be an employer of choice, but this comment falls short as far as SQDC employees are concerned,” said Frédéric Bisson, general secretary of CUPE Quebec.
The President of CUPE 5454, David Clément, highlighted the contradictions the Premier made in his inaugural address.
“I don’t buy the argument that Quebec is not as well off as its neighbors. There’s no rationale for this. What we want is for Quebec to come out ahead!” says François Legault. “We’d like the government to set an example and offer its employees a decent salary and working conditions that would enable them to live decently,” says Clément.
CUPEE 5454 members were very appreciative of the support they received from Christine Labrie and Alexandre Leduc of Québec solidaire.
The SQDC is a profitable and growing company that earned a net profit of more than $75 million during the last fiscal year.