Groupe de Scieries (GDS) declared a lockout at four eastern Quebec mill locations, following a 24-hour strike at the company’s Matane plant on May 18.
Workers at the Matane plant have been working without a contract since 2022 and during negotiations decided to escalate pressure on the employer by declaring a 24-hour strike. The decision came after the employer submitted its offer.
"The final offer presented by the employer is not at all in line with the mandate we received from our members," says Martin Dugas, National Representative for Unifor for the three regions of eastern Quebec.
According to Dugas, the Groupe de Scieries refused to offer the standard standard contract for the sawmill sector and was willing to offer improvements to the benefits plan.
The collective agreement also applies to the three other GDS factories located in Pointe-à-la-Croix (Local Section 299), Grande-Vallée (Local Section 425-3), and Marsoui (Local Section 425-2). All four factories are negotiating together for better wages.
Further negotiation dates are scheduled for the end of May.
“If the employer believes that declaring a lockout will weaken the morale of the troops, it has the exact opposite effect,” said Dugas. “The members are ready to fight."
Unifor represents over 100 members working in the four GDS locations.