Contract negotiations between SQDC, striking workers stalled

The SQDC confirmed that some branches currently operated by managers due to the strike will be temporarily closed this summer.

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Negotiations are deadlocked between the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) and the union that represents the largest number of workers in its stores, many of whom have been affected by an indefinite strike.

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While CSN-affiliated branches have negotiated an agreement, members of the FTQ-affiliated Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP) have not.

Twenty-two branches where the SCFP represents workers have been on indefinite strike since May 20. Others voted to use pressure tactics, but are not yet on strike. Overall, the union represents workers in 27 stores.

In an interview on Wednesday, local SCFP president David Clément said he proposed a “settlement offer” last week and has been waiting for a response. But Clément said there has been “radio silence” ever since.

The dispute is mainly about wages.

Clément said the current starting salary for SQDC employees is $17.12, which he considers too low for a Crown corporation.

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He said the employer’s latest offer would increase that wage to $17.46, but his members have no intention of accepting a hiring rate of less than $20 an hour.

Clément said that the members are not willing to accept what the CSN members have agreed. The CSN, which has affiliates in 15 branches, ratified its collective agreement with the SQDC at the end of June.

“The SQDC presented us with the agreement it had with the CSN, in terms of salary. For our bargaining committee, our executive council, this is not a deal or an offer that would be interesting,” Clément said, “because it would support us, for the next four years, on salaries that are (laughable) for a Crown corporation. . and for the work we do.”

SQDC management declined to comment on negotiations with the union.

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“Out of respect for the process that is taking place with the mediator appointed by the Ministry of Labor, we will not negotiate in the public arena and we will keep the discussions confidential,” a spokesperson said.

“Our goal is always to reach a negotiated agreement to the satisfaction of the parties involved,” they added.

The SQDC confirmed that some branches currently operated by managers due to the strike will be temporarily closed this summer while the managers in question take vacations.

Among the closing outlets is the store near the Snowdon metro station in Montreal, which will close from July 3-11. Other short-term closures will occur in Quebec City, Drummondville and Lévis.

All stores affected by the strike will operate on reduced hours.

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