May 19, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Possible strike tomorrow: What will the SAQ do with its branches?

Possible strike tomorrow: What will the SAQ do with its branches?

All indications are that the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) will have to operate without employees on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Most of its 411 branches will remain closed during the two-day strike amid recent labor disputes.

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“We are ready. We have a plan,” he announced in an interview Newspaper The deputy director of the state company, An Langlais Plante, on Tuesday morning.

At 11 am on Tuesday, the union and the management met and discussed. The call for a strike will be known at the end of the meeting which will be held till the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

The SAQ refuses to reveal its plan in the event of a strike. It has promised to publish the list of open branches on its site soon.

It did so during the most recent labor dispute in 2018, when executives confirmed the turnover of 66 branches. At the time, it accounted for 16% of all stores, 34 of which were in the Montreal area.

“It is certain that not all branches will open. The number will be specified depending on the availability of managers and the union strategy adopted,” it pointed out Newspaper SAQ representative.

The state corporation's 428 agencies, small counters in grocery stores and convenience stores located away from major centers will not be affected by the impending dispute.

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The SAQ also said it was surprised because “the tone has been good so far this week” at the negotiating table.

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On Monday, the Union of Store and Office Employees (SEMB-SAQ-CSN) announced a strike on Wednesday and Thursday if talks do not progress.

“In 2000, we had a good meeting. But 24 years later, that is far from over. Newspaper SEMB-SAQ-CSN President, Lisa Courtmanche, prior to the start of the day of discussions, Tuesday.

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Today, she says, McDonald's employees are treated better than the SAQ, which requires them to wait seven years and work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for group insurance.

Of the 5,000 unionized employees working in SAQ branches, “only” 1,800 are regular.

About 70% of the remainder is made up of part-time on-call employees who do not know how many hours they will work in a two-week period.

“Our salaries cannot afford much less insecurity. In the last 24 years, we have overcome many peaks and troughs in our conference, but enough is enough,'' said the union leader.

Maybe just two more days

SAQ employees have long been considered the “spoiled children of the state” because of their good conditions, but that is no longer true today.

The SAQ prefers to remain silent about its negotiating strategy. She is yet to answer questions about what will be on the negotiating table.

Employees voted 89% in favor of a 15-day strike order in early March. SEMB-SAQ-CSN can use these strike days whenever it wants.

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