Lower wages for Mexicans: BRP practices deemed “inadmissible”

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BRP justifies lower pay for Mexican employees by saying it wants to be fair towards Quebec employees.

“The facts as alleged strike me as totally inadmissible and unacceptable. In reaction to the report concerning the Mexican workers of BRP, who are paid less than their Quebec colleagues, the Minister of Labor Jean Boulet reiterates that foreign workers “who come to meet the needs of Quebec companies” have access to the same working conditions than Quebec workers.

They have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity, he stresses.

The Minister says he will ensure that the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) continues its investigation and ends it with diligence. And if there are tickets to be issued, let them be issued, he said.

“There is no company that is immune from lawsuits brought by the CNESST when there is a violation of our labor laws in Quebec. »

— Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour

The Minister has had no contact with the company, initially wishing to let the CNESST do its investigative work. Thereafter, of course, we will have to be active and ensure that this company respects labor laws, if [the allegations] are founded following the investigation.

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Minister of Labor Jean Boulet (File photo)

The leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, also describes the situation as unacceptable.

It is absolutely necessary that light be shed on this situation! he argues.

The director of the Network of Assistance to Migrant Agricultural Workers of Quebec (RATTMAQ), Michel Pilon, affirms that all foreign workers are subject to the same rules, whether they are in agriculture, in food processing or on an assembly line like at BRP.

The Valcourt company justifies the lower wages of Mexican workers by the fairness it wants to show to Quebec workers. These deductions would have been the subject of an agreement with the workers in Mexico, according to BRP. Michel Pilon maintains that these explanations do not hold water.

“It is a law of public order, this law on minimum labor standards. Any agreement and expectation must be subject to the law, and if there are any provisions that fall short of the law, it is null and void. »

— Michel Pilon, director of RATTMAQ

The director of RATTMAQ deplores that these practices occur more and more. He believes that this is a roundabout way of recovering the sums invested to bring workers to the country, which is prohibited.

He also regrets that the fines are not dissuasive enough to prevent this type of practice.

In the law, there are fines, but we are talking about $1,000, $2,000. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, he argues. But we are asking the courts for exemplary sentences.

In writing, the Consulate General of Mexico assures us that when it obtains this kind of information, it turns to responsible authorities and employers themselves to investigate to ensure that there is no exploitation or illegal working conditions.

We are approaching them to learn more about the facts and to encourage the responsible authorities to act by preventing or sanctioning injustices or illegalities, he adds in his email. In other cases, we have even managed to elicit positive feedback from employers to prevent any abuse.

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