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CRH cement workers fight for justice and win

23 November, 2020After almost two months of lockout workers of Demix Béton, a Canadian subsidiary of cement multinational CRH represented by IndustriALL affiliate FIM-CSN union signed an agreement with their employer.

Members of the Demix Béton (St-Hubert) – CSN Workers Union voted in favour of the conciliator's recommendation to sign an agreement and put an end to the long labour conflict. Now they are preparing to return to their workplaces.

It was a difficult struggle. In the middle of the fight in October the employer tried to bypass the locked-out workers and use LafargeHolcim drivers to deliver CRH concrete. Workers appealed to the Administrative labour court which made a clear verdict in favour of the CRH drivers that Lafarge workers could not be used as replacement of their fellows from CRH as long as the conflict continued.

To support the workers in their fight, in addition to own solidarity message, IndustriALL addressed to the entire union cement network in North America and European Works Council and asked to express their international solidarity and support the cement workers struggle.

Throughout the conflict, the employer failed to address the problem of inequality of wages for operators and drivers, which were lower than elsewhere in the region, even though workers were doing the same work and delivering to the same customers.

According to the union, besides the legal victories, in the new agreement workers also succeeded to remove a clause which left them vulnerable to subcontracting.

Louis Bégin, president of the Federation of Manufacturing (FIM – CSN) underlined the importance of solidarity and said,

“The biggest victory is respect for the union. A clear message was sent to CRH. Workers are behind their union, and this puts an end to unilateral, contemptuous decisions. The trade union is a democratic force that cannot be circumvented.”