MONTREAL, March 21, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - BMTC Group Inc. (the "Corporation") (TSX: GBT) announces a lock-out of the 37 salespersons of its Brault & Martineau store in Laval for an indefinite period. The Brault & Martineau store in Laval will remain open during this period, and the Corporation assures its customers that the store's business hours, customer service and delivery operations will continue without any interruption.
In a decision rendered December 7, 2015, the Commission des relations du travail du Québec certified local union 501 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to represent the 37 salespersons and 17 office workers of the Brault & Martineau store in Laval. To date, this is the only store with unionized salespersons and office workers among the 38 points-of-sale of the Corporation, which operates a major furniture, electronic goods and household appliance retail business in the province of Québec for over 56 years.
The 17 office workers in Laval recently submitted a draft collective agreement, and the first negotiation sessions are scheduled for April 6 and 8. The Corporation is confident that an agreement with this group of unionized workers will quickly be reached without any labour dispute.
The Corporation deeply regrets having a labour dispute with its salespersons. However, the union has left the Corporation no other choice, owing both to the nature of its demands and the union's unwillingness to make any compromise at the negotiation table. A significant portion of the union's demands completely disregard the competitive environment in which the Corporation operates and would modify the very essence of its business model. These union demands would reduce the quality of in-store customer service and change our customers' in-store purchasing experience, two aspects that are crucial to the business' success. These demands are unrealistic and unreasonable.
The Corporation's salespersons currently enjoy the best working conditions in our market. They benefit from the best compensation in our market, and we are one of the rare businesses in our industry to offer a pension plan to all of our salespersons and support staff.
The Corporation is astounded that union representatives refuse to recognize that our salespersons' working conditions are the best in our market, and that the success of this Québec enterprise depends on its business model.
The Corporation believes that its business model, which is based on the excellent price-quality ratio of the products offered, the in-store purchasing experience of its customers and the quality of its customer service, is the very essence of its success and has allowed it to become a market leader despite the competition that has steadily increased over the years. It is the Corporation's responsibility to remain a market leader.
To maintain this leadership position, the Corporation must continue to offer the best working conditions to its salespersons. However, the Corporation cannot accept demands that would jeopardize its business model. Nor can the Corporation accept demands that impose an unreasonable financial burden, given that the current working conditions are already the best in the market and that the Corporation operates in a fiercely competitive environment.
The framework of this first collective agreement affecting the 37 salespersons of the Brault & Martineau store in Laval will play a key role in the Corporation's future and have an impact on its operations for years to come. The Corporation intends to remain an industry leader and allow the Québec population to continue to enjoy our customer service and their purchasing experience in our stores.
Management believes that all of the Corporation's employees have contributed to its success; that said, a small group of 37 employees out of more than 2,187 employees do not have the right to hijack the future of the Corporation.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
The press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "may", "will", "should", "expect", "plan", "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "predict", "potential", "continue" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Such statements reflect the current views and estimates of the management of BMTC Group Inc. with respect to future events, as of the date such statements are made, and they involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. In evaluating these statements, readers should specifically consider factors such as the risks outlined under "Risk Factors" in BMTC Group Inc.'s Annual Information Form, which is available at www.sedar.com. Although BMTC Group Inc. has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual events, actions or results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause such events, actions or results to differ. BMTC Group Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's views or estimates change. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
SOURCE BMTC Group Inc.
For further information: M. Yves Des Groseillers, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMTC Group Inc., (514) 648-5757