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SAQ | Agreement in principle reached

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After four days of negotiations, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and the union of the 800 salaried warehouse workers as well as those responsible for delivering the bottles finally reached a new agreement in principle on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, customers who come to branches still find themselves in front of bare shelves.

“We are happy to share that the SAQ and the union have concluded [mardi] an agreement in principle, can we read in the press release issued by the Crown corporation. The details of this agreement will be presented by the union to the employees of the distribution centers this Friday in Quebec City and this Saturday in Montreal. We will let the employees decide on the offer that will be submitted to them and we will communicate any useful information to you in the coming days. ”

“After having renegotiated intensively since the rejection, the negotiating committee is confident and eager to present the results of the latest talks to a general meeting,” said Joël Latour, president of the Union of Workers of the SAQ. .

Last week, union members rejected an initial agreement by 86%, forcing the two parties to return to the negotiating table. The 800 salaried workers of the two SAQ warehouses as well as those responsible for delivering the bottles went on strike on November 16, 22 and 23. Salary, job security and occupational health and safety measures are among the main issues in dispute. The two distribution centers, located in Montreal and Quebec City, supply all of the Crown corporation’s 409 branches and 429 agencies. The last collective agreement expired on 1er April 2021.

SAQ branches are struggling to replenish their shelves, even if distribution center employees have returned to work. In interview with Press last week, Catherine Dagenais, president and chief executive officer of the SAQ, ensured that the replenishment of branches was her priority. She also said that consumers would not run out of wine at Christmas. “The intention is to have the right stocks for the holiday season. The usual product may not be available. But we have plenty of products. ”


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, PRESS ARCHIVES

SAQ branches are struggling to replenish their shelves, even if distribution center employees have returned to work.

Restaurateurs, for their part, are gradually starting to replenish their reserves, confirmed Tuesday Martin Vézina, director of public and government affairs of the Association Restauration Quebec (ARQ). In recent weeks, they have had to deal with delivery delays. “The catching up is done this week,” he says. There are still some who are waiting for their orders, he admits, [mais] there is a lot of effort being made to catch up [le retard]. ”

Frédéric Laurin, professor of economics at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (UQTR), said he was little surprised to see that the state corporation is taking time to fill its shelves. “The SAQ must serve more than 400 branches,” he recalls. It’s a big logistics. ”

In recent days, the SAQ and the union have made few public comments about the supply. They said they wanted to focus on negotiations.



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