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Scab Workers Caught at Samuel & Fils

Laval – For the third time in just one year for the Steelworkers, investigators with the Ministry of Labour have caught out a number of strikebreakers brought in by a company involved in a labour dispute. As a result, the United Steelworkers is now calling on the Quebec government to add some teeth to its anti-scab legislation, to encourage employers to regard it with more respect.

The investigators discovered the presence of three strikebreakers at Samuel & Fils, a metal processing company whose hundred or so workers launched a strike earlier this year, on February 4, to protest an orphan clause that would disadvantage new workers.

“This confirms our suspicions. We saw trucks coming and going, day after day, so it was obvious that the company wasn’t operating using only its managers,” explained the president of Local Union 9441, Alain Paiement.

The United Steelworkers will pursue the process at the judicial level to seek the issue of a rulingan order. “As soon as possible, our lawyers will file an application with the court for a ruling an order to be issued. If the company really wants to restart its plant, it will have to return to the table to negotiate seriously. We’ve had enough of this employer’s shenanigans and hiring of strikebreakers in violation of the Labour Code,” said Staff Representative Silvy Vaudry.

It should be noted that fines are not initially imposed on companies that bring in strikebreakers. They are only imposed once the Labour Court issues its order, which can take some time. And these fines are rather limited, reaching a maximum of $1,000 per day.

“It’s a ridiculously low amount. These companies calculate the fines into their operating costs and laugh all the way to the bank heaven. The legislation should be stronger, and should provide for fines to be applied from the moment the violation begins. These fines should be high enough to act as a deterrent against such behaviour by companies,” said Donald Noël, Steelworkers Area Coordinator for the North/North-West region.

The United Steelworkers will therefore ask the Labour Court to intervene and order the company to comply with the legislation.

During a labour dispute, only managers hired before negotiations begin are authorized to perform the duties that are normally performed by the unionized workers.

We note that last week, investigators discovered that strikebreakers were also being used by CEZinc in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, where workers have been on strike since February 12. We saw this same scenario played out in winter 2016, during the Steelworkers’ labour dispute at Ciment Lafarge in Saint-Constant.

 

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