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The SAQ Strike Is On Hold So You May Want To Stock Up On Booze

It all depends how bargaining goes this week.

The SAQ Strike Is On Hold So You May Want To Stock Up On Booze

A Société des alcools du Québec strike including around 800 warehouse and delivery employees has been suspended until Monday, November 29 at 5 a.m.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the employees, issued a press release Wednesday morning announcing a truce after workers had been on strike for two days.

"We don't want to hold SAQ customers hostage and since we are finally seeing some progress at the negotiation table, we agree to suspend the strike for a few days to give the talks a last chance," said CUPE representative Michel Gratton in the release.

"The union negotiating committee will put all its energy toward the bargaining table to reach an agreement before Monday."

This strike has led to breaks in the SAQ's supply chain and disrupted regular product deliveries. Quebecers have even posted photos and videos of near-empty shelves at SAQ stores.

So what's CUPE's reason for striking in the first place?

"The management of the SAQ has forced our hand. Employee salaries are no longer competitive, and members have to work too many hours of overtime due to the labour shortage, which has caused occupational health and safety problems. Management has refused to look into this issue, and they haven't [been] serious at the bargaining table," Gratton said in a statement.

CUPE also said it "discovered a scheme by management" that planned to use scabs, or replacement workers, to "get around the law and avoid negotiating in good faith."

Joel Latour, president of the Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses de la SAQ, spoke out on the issue by criticizing the government for turning a blind eye to illegal practices and setting a bad example for other companies.

"It is illegal and we have begun legal proceedings," he said.

The SAQ also went on a surprise 24-hour strike on November 16. CUPE said union members — who have been working without contracts since April — voted 94% in favour of strike action.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.