MONTREAL, Oct. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The ninety unionized employees of the
downtown Montreal Indigo Books and Music flagship Store have given their union
executive a mandate to use pressure tactics up to and including a general
Unionized with the Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels et
de bureau, section locale 574 (SEPB 574) a local of COPE SEPB, the Canadian
Office and Professional Employees Union, the workers have been without a
contract for a year.
The negotiations have hit an impasse mainly over wage scales, length of a
new contract, salary increases and vacation time off. Pressure tactics during
the Christmas holidays period would come at the most important time of the
year as far as sales are concerned and would put a serious dent in profits for
It is important to remember that the downtown Montreal store belongs to
the largest chain of bookstores in Canada, which for the year ending March
2007 generated 30 million dollars in profit. Profits grew by 82% over
three years yet, despite those figures, over two-thirds of unionized employees
at the downtown store earn between $8.00 and $8.73 an hour. More than 80% are
part-time and have no access to fringe benefits. Too many of these employees
must hold down a second job just to make ends meet.
Much like with its competitor in Québec, the Renaud-Bray bookstores -
whose employees are also unionized with SEPB 574, this is a struggle to have
the company acknowledge, with decent wages and benefits, the important role
played by employees in the success of the company. Indigo counts on the
expertise of a labour force where over 75% of unionized employees are either
university students or university graduates, many with more than one degree.
The two sides have already called upon the services of a conciliator from
the Ministry of Labour in order to try to iron out the hurdles impeding a
settlement. If that does not produce results the Holiday period will be very
problematic for Indigo and its customers.
For further information:
For further information: Simon Berlin, Assistant Director, SEPB-Québec,
(514) 522-6511, cell.: (514) 915-3776