SQDC: 94% rejection of employer's offer; the strike continues

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SQDC: 94% rejection of the employer's offer; the strike continues

A general and unlimited strike is currently affecting 24 branches of the Société québécoise du cannabis.

After six and a half months of strike, union members of the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) rejected the last global employer offer by a proportion of 94%.

A general and unlimited strike affects 24 branches of the SQDC, whose workers are members of a local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), affiliated with the FTQ.

The strike in CUPE therefore continues. The Repentigny branch was added Tuesday morning, said union president David Clément in an interview. CUPE represents union members in 26 branches.

We take note of the results of the vote, commented the management of the SQDC.

According to the union, the global employer's offer had been tabled on December 6 after more than six months on strike. Mr. Clément argues that it was similar to the July offer, with some additions in lump sums and an employment contract in force for five years.

SQDC management, however, maintained that in July it was not really about an offer, only discussions that took place at that time. The December 6 offer would therefore be the first comprehensive offer we have brought to the negotiating table.

Out of respect for the parties involved and for the process that is underway with the Labor Department-appointed conciliator, we will not comment on the status of negotiations or the nature of the offer we filed last week, management added.

The fact remains that CUPE members in 26 branches did not want it since they rejected it in a proportion of 94%. The rejection was even unanimous in 17 branches, noted Mr. Clément.

“Our bosses wanted hard evidence; the results of the votes are unequivocal; our members want to be treated with respect. The employers' committee wanted a vote on their overall offer: they got it. »

— David Clément, president of the union

In addition, in one of the unionized branches of CUPE but not affected by the strike, in Neufchâtel, CUPE asked the Ministry of Labor to appoint an arbitrator to work out the content of the first collective agreement.

The main dispute is now about wages since the normative clauses have been settled.

Union members are demanding, among other things, salaries comparable to those of other state-owned companies.

CUPE believes that salaries at the SQDC are similar to those of the retail trade rather than those of a Crown corporation. CUPE members earn $17.12 an hour when hired.

SQDC management, meanwhile, argued that the All of the Society's counsellors, with the exception of those who work in branches represented by CUPE, benefit from an hourly rate of $19.01/h upon entry, and this , since July 3, 2022.

Union members of the Federation of Public Service Employees, affiliated with the CSN, have indeed renewed their collective agreement. However, the offer accepted by these union members was considered insufficient by those of CUPE, affiliated with the FTQ.

After six and a half months of indefinite strike, the ball is in the SQDC camp after this latest rejection of the employer's offer, believes Mr. Clément.

The SQDC says it is still open to the idea of ​​​​negotiating. We remain always available and ready to sit down at the negotiating table in order to continue discussions as soon as the conciliator summons the two parties again.

The SQDC pointed out that its branches remain open despite the strike. The SQDC is making efforts to maintain its customer service in its branches, including those affected by the strike, which remain open, but at reduced hours. Customers also still have access to online purchases.

The SQDC noted that among its 92 branches, 48 ​​do not have a union.

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