Social Justice and Democracy

Canada’s unions stand with locked out steelworkers in Quebec

June 20, 2019

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) fully supports the United Steelworkers (USW) complaint against the Government of Quebec for violating international labour laws and severely impeding the rights of workers.

One thousand members of USW have been locked out of their workplace at an aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Quebec for the past 17 months.

Over the spring of 2019, Quebec’s Premier François Legault made numerous public statements favouring ABI, the employer, and undermining the union representing ABI workers.

The USW lodged a formal complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. Canada has been a signatory to ILO Convention 87 – Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise – for over 45 years and, in 2017, Canada ratified ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

In a letter to the ILO sent on June 19, 2019, CLC’s President Hassan Yussuff writes that, “The CLC supports the USW position that the Government of Quebec, through the public statements made by its leader and official representative, Premier François Legault, interfered in negotiations in the 17-month lockout at the aluminum smelter in Bécancour, co-owned by multi-national aluminum giants Alcoa and Rio Tinto.”

Click here to read the CLC’s full letter.

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