Another year, another labour dispute at a Quebecor paper

Staff at the Journal de Montréal, the biggest newspaper in Quebec, have been locked out. Unable to come to terms on a deal to replace the contract that expired Dec. 31, both sides had walked away from the table last week. The workers were formally told not to show up to work until a deal is in place on Saturday morning.

(Fellow Concordia grad) Fagstein has the best writeup around. Here are some of the juicy bits—make sure you hit up Fagstein for the rest:

Most of the points of dispute are the result of management demands for changes to the existing contract that the union has refused to consider. They include:

  • Increasing the work week from 30 hours (4 days) to 37.5 hours (5 days), with no extra pay
  • Laying off 75 employees
  • 25% pay cut for classified employees
  • 20% reduction in benefits for all
  • Clauses that would give new hires fewer rights than existing employees
  • Flexibility to reassign workers to do multimedia work for the website

Quebecor certainly hasn’t shied away from taking a hard line against its journalists in recent years. Recall that Péladeau and co. left their workers at the Journal de Québec on the picket lines for well over a year—all while using scab labour to keep putting the paper out—before settling last July. Meanwhile, the workers were putting out their own paper, MediaMatinQuébec, a tactic the JdeM folks have replicated with

Anyway, here’s hoping the JdeM and its workers settle more quickly than the JdeQ did. Fagstein, for one, isn’t hopeful.