At a day of action in support of Local 121 members locked out since November 27, Quebec Federation of Labour President Daniel Boyer and Unifor Quebec Director Renaud Gagné announced the launch of a boycott of Shell products in Montreal.
Recalling that Shell turned a profit of $4.85 billion in 2020, despite an economic slowdown due to COVID-19, on top of profits totalling more than $16 billion in 2019, the union leaders denounced the oil company’s conduct toward its employees.
“This super-rich company refuses to treat Quebec workers fairly,” Boyer said.
“They would have us believe that they can’t afford to offer the same terms as those negotiated in the pattern agreement for other oil industry workers in Canada, despite the fact that we’re only talking about 20 workers. We don’t believe them. That is why we are inviting the public to stop buying their products.”
Since the start of the lock-out, Shell has refused to negotiate the same terms agreed to in the pattern agreement covering the oil industry, claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the situation.
“Shell isn’t fooling anyone. In fact, the company is trying to take advantage of the pandemic to break the model contract that sets working conditions in the oil sector in Quebec and Canada, and that’s absolutely unacceptable,” Gagné said.
More than hundred members of unions affiliated with the QFL turned out to support Unifor’s demonstrators and encouraged their respective organizations to join the boycott. Militants then spent a good part of the day informing the public by distributing a flyer inviting people to boycott Shell products.
The labour leaders described the dispute as “David against Goliath,” but pointed out that the locked-out members have the support of thousands of QFL and Unifor members, pledging that the workers will not be abandoned.
The public is invited to boycott Shell products and the following service stations that distribute Shell products:
Sobeys (stations under the Shell and Sobeys banner):
- Harnois service stations
- Costco Terrebonne service station
- Flying J service stations
The campaign currently applies only to Quebec.