On the Picket Line

Quebec bakery workers fight for wage increase, safety

By Joe Young
May 30, 2022

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec — Over 300 workers have been locked out at the Bridor industrial bakery plant here since April 25 for demanding a wage hike to keep up with the cost of living.

Bridor locked out the members of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN) after they held a two-hour work stoppage. The workers then voted to go on strike.

The company also has plants across the river in Montreal and in New Jersey. 

Jean-Baptiste LaGuerre, the local’s vice president for health and safety, told this worker-correspondent that workers want an immediate wage increase of 17% and cost-of-living adjustments over the life of the contract. Bridor bosses are offering 2.5% to 3.5%. The inflation rate in Canada is 6.7%. The unionists have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2020. 

Bosses had been running the bakery prior to the lockout with 300 workers, but 400 are needed, said striker Karine Morisseau, the local’s business agent. “They do a lot of overtime as well as working on the production lines at a very high speed with less workers. This increases the risk of accidents and exhaustion,” she said. Workers have to work on holidays and can be made to take their vacation during the annual plant shutdown. 

“We are seeking a better reconciliation between work and family life,” said striker Laila Hajby, the local’s vice president for grievances. 

On May 2 the workers protested at an event in Montreal where Bridor bosses were given a prize by the Chamber of Commerce “for excellence in management.”