SAQ employees walk off job, shutting most stores

SAQ employees walk off job, shutting most stores

Employees of the SAQ, Quebec's government-run liquor board, went on strike Tuesday, forcing the closure of most outlets the province. 

The workers walked off the job at all 404 stores shortly after 10 a.m.

Mathieu Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the SAQ, said 60 stores would remain open today and operated by management.

He told Radio-Canada the SAQ is open to negotiating with the union despite the strike.

A full list of open stores is available on the SAQ's website.

The union voted in favour of a six-day strike mandate last month. The strike days won't necessarily be taken consecutively, the union said. 

The workers have been negotiating a new contract for 16 months.

The main sticking points, according to the union, are a new requirement that full-time employees work more weekend hours and the job security of part-time employees.

"Today, our message is clear: we will not accept any decline in our working conditions," said Katia Lelièvre, who represents members of the Syndicat des employé(e)s de magasins et de bureaux de la SAQ (SEMB-SAQ).

The SEMB-SAQ represents 5,500 workers across the province.