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Cement workers locked out three hours after strike starts

14 October, 2020Management of Demix Béton, Canadian subsidiary of cement multinational CRH, locked out workers three hours after they went on strike over wage increase.  

Syndicat des travailleurs de Demix Béton (St-Hubert), affiliated to IndustriALL, represents workers at the collective bargaining negotiations. On 23 September, workers unanimously rejected the employer's final offer and went on a 24-hour strike.

A few hours after the strike began, on 24 September, the employer locked out the workers. That same evening, an unlimited general strike vote was unanimously passed.

The union wants to renew the collective agreement, and the main area of contention is over pay parity with other Demix workers in the region.

Currently, union members at Demix Concrete earn about 3 CAD(US$2.2) less an hour than fellow operators and drivers elsewhere in the region, even though they perform the same job for the same employer.

The union says that there is no argument that can justify this difference in salary. By acting this way, the employer is trying to break the union and set the table for other unions, who’s round of negotiations are coming up.

IndustriALL sent a message of solidarity and support to the striking cement workers. In the message Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary, said:

“We were outraged to learn that the CRH/Demix management locked out the workers three hours after the officially announced strike, instead of addressing their fully justified demands. This is completely unacceptable.”

IndustriALL pledged to inform the entire union cement network in North America and European Works Council of cement workers struggle, and suggest to also express their support to the strikers.