SAQ and union workers reach deal

·1 min read
The SAQ says it could take a few weeks to restock empty shelves across the province. (Anna Asimakopulos/CBC - image credit)
The SAQ says it could take a few weeks to restock empty shelves across the province. (Anna Asimakopulos/CBC - image credit)

Quebec's provincial liquor board has reached an agreement in principle with its 800 warehouse and delivery workers who had been on strike for weeks and without a contract since April.

The agreement was accepted with 86.3 per cent of the vote, the two parties announced Saturday.

"We are very happy!" said Joël Latour, president of the union representing Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) workers, in a press release.

Latour said he feels the agreement that was negotiated recognizes the importance of the work SAQ warehouse and delivery employees do.

According to the union, working conditions and pay across all pay scales have improved. The starting wage is increasing to $22.50 an hour, up from $17 for some members.

After weeks of striking and the rejection of a first tentative agreement, union members signed a six-year contract. According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the deal provides wage increases of about three per cent per year. The workers also accepted a new "work arrangement" which will allow the warehouses to be open on Saturdays and Sundays.

"The approval of this agreement allows us to focus on the future and, especially, on continuing to restock our stores and business partners' establishments," said Catherine Dagenais, President and Chief Executive Officer of the SAQ.

Shelves in some SAQ retail locations have been sparsely stocked, even empty for the last few weeks due to the disruption of the supply chain caused by the strike.

The SAQ says it could take "a few weeks" to restock some 400 stores.

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