Quebec Labor Minister Calls for End to Ash Grove Dispute

Quebec Labor Minister Jean Boulet is calling for a 10-month lockout at Ash Grove Cement’s plant in Joliette to end, reported the Montreal Gazette. He invited the employer and Unifor union to “concentrate their efforts at the negotiation table with a conciliator.” 

About 130 workers, members of Unifor, were locked out by Ash Grove’s parent company CRH on June 4, 2021. The dispute has led to several appearances before the province’s labor board, with the union alleging the use of replacement workers and interference in union activities.

Unifor said Ash Grove has been importing clinker from Greece and Turkey, while previously it was manufactured at the plant by the union workers.

In January, union members unanimously rejected a proposal “because the position of the employer who continued to demand for concessions was considered unacceptable,” Unifor said in a statement.

“The union has asked for nothing except to maintain established rights,” Renaud Gagne, Unifor’s Quebec director, added after the January vote.

A meeting with a mediator is planned for April 14.

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