MONTRÉAL, March 16, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Rolls Royce Canada yesterday locked out its employees just as they were attending a general meeting to discuss progress at the bargaining table. At the meeting, employees voted 94% in favour of giving their union a mandate to call a strike at the appropriate time. In view of the lock-out, the union decided to exercise the mandate immediately and called a strike.
The 530 aircraft engine maintenance workers have been without a collective agreement since March 2020. They want a five-year contract. Among other things, they are demanding the elimination of orphan clauses in the pension and group insurance plans, improved wages and work schedules, and enhanced leave.
“For months we have been arguing at the bargaining table for the needs of Rolls-Royce workers to be taken into account,” explains union president Frédéric Labelle. “The employer’s response has been disappointing. The more dismissive they are, the more our sense of belonging erodes. We are the core of this business. Without our work, which is recognized in the industry as being of outstanding quality, Rolls-Royce could not call itself a leader. We want to be treated with respect again.”
The Syndicat des travailleuses et des travailleurs de Rolls-Royce Canada (CSN) has been displaying a message demanding respect from Rolls-Royce on a billboard In front of the Côte-de-Liesse plant for several weeks. Prior to yesterday’s strike vote, the union organized a number of actions to make it clear to the employer that employees are committed to their demands. There was strong participation by the membership. Members have been following the progress of the bargaining talks closely (there have been 25 bargaining sessions over the past few months). The support for the bargaining committee is palpable.
Unwavering support from the CSN
CSN President Caroline Senneville points out that the union’s demands are reasonable: “Rolls-Royce Canada needs to understand that it is legitimate for workers to set priorities and to want to improve their working conditions, especially at a time when the industry is scrambling to find skilled workers. It is inconceivable that a thriving company like Rolls-Royce should be unable to come to an agreement with its employees. The entire CSN will support the workers at Rolls-Royce. Their cause is just.”
The Syndicat des travailleuses et des travailleurs de Rolls-Royce Canada (CSN) is affiliated with the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM–CSN) and the Fédération de l’industrie manufacturière (FIM–CSN). Founded in 1921, the CSN now represents 320,000 workers in all sectors.