Lockout at Renaud-Bray


In the eyes of Renaud-Bray management the work stoppage has been caused either by a major computer failure that affects only its 11 stores unionized with Sepb, or by a momentary interruption of operations at the same 11 stores. Really !?! Who do they think they’re kidding ?

A Lock-out was Renaud-Bray’s response to the bargaining demands of its 400 employees unionized with the Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels-les et de bureau, section locale 574 (FTQ). The employees who earn on average $12,000 a year expressed their frustration by going out on strike on November 19 th and 20th . Two hundred of them also held a demonstration outside the Salon du livre de Montréal. Unionized workers at eleven stores out of the Company’s twenty-six took part in the action which was held mainly in the Montreal region.

Literature or calculus

Renaud-Bray, whose forté is in literature, obviously has some trouble interpreting and calculating their own wage offers. While they offer a total wage hike of only 5 % over the next five years, they claim that in fact their offer amounts to 23 % when taking into account pay adjustements for new employees as they progress through the wage scale. Their figures neglect to take into account the 150% turnover rate at Renaud-Bray which translates into a huge number of employees who never progress through the wage scale.

Using the same logic, the Quebec government’s offer to public sector employees would go from 8 % in 6 years to 26 % for the same period.

Legitimate demands

The union demands amount on average to a $30,29 per week increase for each of the next three years. The employer’s meagre offer amounts to $4,25 on average per week for the next three years. Renaud-Bray has done well, registering profits, has succeeded in reimbursing part of its debt and has paid dividends to its shareholders. By maintaining its employees in a state of poverty, Renaud-Bray, whose financial difficulties are over, refuses to acknowledge their contribution to its success. Sadly, this employer has quickly forgotten the tremendous financial support the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ provided Renaud-Bray when it was in trouble. What’s that expression again? It’s Payback time !