Zoo: 10-day strike for employees

Zoo: 10-day strike for employees
Zoo: 10-day strike for employees

LABOUR RELATIONS. Negotiations to renew the collective agreement for employees of the Granby Zoo are still not progressing. Employees met Tuesday evening and set aside a bank of 10 strike days to use at times deemed appropriate.

There are 130 workers in the maintenance and caretaker sections who find themselves in this situation. These include jobs such as veterinary technician and animal care, interpreter naturalist, mechanic, carpenter and administrative staff, among others.

The union deplores that the employer is not taking its demands seriously. Its members decided to give themselves this strike mandate because of the slow pace of negotiations.

“It is not normal that after 14 negotiation meetings, there are no more than 10% of the normative clauses settled! We are not even talking about money yet and already the members are ready to fight to obtain the recognition and respect they deserve,” declared the treasurer of the Fédération du Commerce (FC-CSN), Michel Valiquette, in a press release.

Move like a snail

The collective agreement for these employees expired in December. Negotiations began in February with the employer to reach an agreement. However, it has become a dialogue of the deaf.

The union agrees that its negotiation project is relatively busy, but its goal is to adapt the collective agreement to the reality of 2024. The press release gives as an example the fact that the employer continues to use seasonal employment statuses, while the Zoo is open year-round.

“With the current labour shortage, employers must be attractive, but also be able to keep their people. It’s not complicated what employees are asking of employers: to put their energy at the negotiating table in order to find viable solutions to the problems rather than trying to counter the mobilization,” adds the president of the Conseil central des syndicats nationaux de l’Estrie (CCSNE-CSN), Denis Beaudin.

Mr. Beaudin specifies that despite the pressure tactics and the strike mandate, the employees keep the well-being of the animals as a priority.

The Zoo will remain open

The general director of the Granby Zoo wants to reassure the entire population. “The Zoo will remain open and operating despite the labor dispute,” Paul Gosselin said on the phone. He says the animals will not be affected and will receive all the care they need.

“There is little availability on the CSN side, while we would be ready to negotiate daily. We want to settle the agreement without going into a labour dispute,” adds Mr. Gosselin. His priorities remain the same: the safety of his employees, the well-being of the animals and the optimal experience of visitors.

“We have submitted a lot of proposals for which we are waiting for feedback from the union. It is really taking a long time to arrive. I would like to have more days of negotiations,” emphasizes the general director of the Granby Zoo.

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