The Federation of Workers of Quebec (FTQ) and Unifor are calling on Quebeckers to boycott Shell Canada’s products now, to support nearly twenty workers whose contracts have expired for two years.
“This extremely wealthy oil company refuses to treat Quebec workers fairly, that does not make sense,” said the president of the FTQ, Daniel Boyer, in a press release.
Since mid-November, Shell has imposed a lockout and refuses to negotiate the terms of the model contract in the oil industry due to COVID-19, says the FTQ. Their employment contract expired on March 31, 2019.
Basically, the industry’s model contract features annual pay increases of 2.5%, 2.75%, 3% and 3.5% in the fourth year, according to unions.
Production operators (terminal operators), or chemical process technicians, have a salary of around $ 100,000, which is consistent with what is paid in the industry according to union members.
“The Shell company wants us to believe that it does not have the means to offer the same conditions as those provided for in the model contract for other workers in the industry in Canada, whereas that only implies twenty people. We don’t believe it. This is the reason why we invite the population to no longer buy their products, ”added Daniel Boyer.
At his side, the Quebec director of Unifor, Renaud Gagné, has driven the point home.
“Shell isn’t fooling anyone. In fact, the company is trying to take advantage of the pandemic to break the model regulation that sets working conditions in the oil industry in Quebec and Canada, and that is really unacceptable, ”he said. .
While the day of mobilization began with a demonstration on the picket line, the unions plan to make noise all day to invite Quebecers to boycott Shell products.
“It’s David versus Goliath. But the locked-out members are not alone, as they have the support of thousands of other members of the FTQ and Unifor. This is the strength of our trade union movement. We will not let them down, ”the union leaders concluded.
Joined by The newspaper, the Shell oil company defended itself by saying it made the difficult decision to declare a lockout on the employees after 22 months of negotiation and mediation.
“This decision was not taken lightly. We are aware of its impact on employees. However, we felt that we had exhausted all the other options at our disposal to enable the stalemate to be resolved, ”underlined Tara Lemay, Shell spokesperson.
At the same time, she said she worked hard with a mediator and was looking for a solution.
“As part of the mediation process, Shell made an offer that included a retroactive pay increase. It was rejected by the union on March 18, 2021. We respect the right of individuals and organizations to express their opinions, ”she added.
Shell has said it wants to ensure the safety of its people, operations and the delivery of its products.