On the Picket Line

Quebec cement truck drivers fight for equal wages

By Joe Young
November 16, 2020

ST.-HUBERT, Quebec — Twenty-five cement truck drivers locked out by Demix Beton in this Montreal suburb are fighting for equal wages and benefits with drivers working for the same company in nearby Longueuil and Lasalle. The drivers belong to the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN).

The locked-out workers have a different contract because the company they previously worked for was bought by Demix Beton some time ago. Their contract expired April 30. “We make $3 an hour less than the other drivers,” Rejean Robichaud said on the picket line Oct. 19. “The company’s offer for four years will leave us even further behind.”

On Sept. 24 workers began what they had planned as a 24-hour walkout, after unanimously rejecting the bosses’ last offer. Within three hours  the company locked them out and ended negotiations.

Robichaud said that locked-out workers fighting for a contract at the Jean Coutu pharmacy chain warehouse have come to their line twice, as have Steelworkers who work for Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium in nearby Sorel. The Steelworkers also donated 2,000 Canadian dollars ($1,500).