June 25, 2018 10:23 am
Updated: June 25, 2018 4:45 pm

SAQ workers vote in favour of six strike days

SAQ employees have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.

Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press

Unionized workers with Quebec’s government-run liquor stores have voted heavily in favour of a six-day strike mandate.

The union said Monday 91 per cent of members who voted supported a strike, in response to stalled collective agreement negotiations.

READ MORE: Quebec liquor authority employees’ pre-holiday strike threat falls through

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Union president Katia Lelièvre said workers aren’t interested in a labour dispute, but they also have legitimate concerns.

They’ve been working under an expired collective agreement since March 2017.

Negotiations have proven difficult regarding weekend work hours and conditions of part-time employees.

The union said it wants more job security for the estimated 70 per cent of its members who are part-time.

READ MORE: Quebec liquor store employees threaten to strike ahead of Fête nationale holiday

Quebec Liquor Corp. says it is seeking flexibility when it comes to scheduling.

Corporation spokesman Mathieu Gaudreault said 74 per cent of sales take place between Thursday and Sunday.

“What we would like is to have more employees present during these hours,” Gaudreault said.

The strike days will be used at the opportune time, the union said.

A three-day negotiating blitz with a mediator wraps up Wednesday and talks have been ongoing for 16 months.

The union said the participation rate for the vote was 54.6 per cent.

Quebec has a state-enforced monopoly on hard liquor sales across the province and employs 5,500 people and operates roughly 400 stores.

Management said it is hopeful it can reach an agreement but has a plan in place to operate some stores should workers end up walking off the job.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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