ABI union members march to Trois-Rivieres and Quebec City: “The balance of power is broken”
Trois-Rivieres – After more than 14 months of conflict and a radio silence on the part of the employer since the tabling of the counter-union proposal, some 200 lockouts of the ABI walked Tuesday to the Sanctuary Notre-Dame-du -Cap for maybe hoping for a miracle. But while waiting to repeat this energy march in Quebec City from Place Laurier to the National Assembly on Wednesday, their prayer to meet the Prime Minister could be heard next week.
“There are discussions with the Prime Minister’s Office and it could be that next week we have a meeting with him. The message we deliver must go to the Prime Minister’s Office. He had been asked for a meeting as soon as possible, so it looks as if we will meet him to raise awareness, “said Local 9700 President Clément Masse.
In the absence of Minister Jean Boulet, the union leader had just met his political staff to denounce again this force majeure clause or Act of God in the electricity supply contract that allows Alcoa not to pay for all block of electricity reserved for him.
“The conflict is prolonged because of that. The balance of power is broken. It does not make sense, it is $ 165 million that the employer has saved by not respecting his contract because of this clause and that’s what we want to denounce, “he said.
“We are calling on the Prime Minister who said during the election campaign that he would get involved. For now, we have not seen any involvement of the Prime Minister. It’s time for Mr. Legault to act on this. He talked during the campaign that he would do something, there, we want him to act. It will soon be 15 months that we are in conflict, it is time that Mr. Legault acts. He spoke during the campaign, but here he acts now, “hammered Mr. Masse.
In the same breath, he recalls that this famous force majeure clause was negotiated by the government “and it is up to the government to help us get out of this impasse, this conflict”.
In addition, the Union is still waiting for the employer’s response to its counter-proposal. “But he has no pressure right now because he saves money. This is what makes the balance of power is unbalanced. Mr. Legault can put some pressure on it, it’s the premier of a province that is the world’s fourth largest producer of aluminum, it’s not true that can not do anything in our conflict, “he said. Mr Masse.
To add insult to insult, he says, “we recently learned that the salary of Alcoa’s CEO, Roy Harvey, has tripled from 2016 to 2018, from 4 to 13 million US.”
This is the second time in less than 10 years that lockup steelworkers at an aluminum smelter in Quebec have been forced to march to denounce such electricity contracts that generate inequalities in bargaining power. In May 2012, workers at Alma’s Rio Tinto plant made an energy march between Alma and Quebec City.
“There is something irrational in your conflict that was premeditated to break the union,” concluded USW Quebec Deputy Director Dominic Lemieux.