Quebec microdistilleries hit hard during SAQ labour dispute

Quebec microdistilleries hit hard during SAQ labour dispute

By Michael Boriero

The Union québécoise des microdistilleries (UQMD) has demanded the provincial government to eliminate a heavy markup fee associated with the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) in light of the ongoing labour dispute between management and warehouse workers.

In a press release, the UQMD said it would be a crucial step to ensuring the survival of the industry, as owners are forced to pay a 52 per cent markup when selling to the SAQ. The union claims it is an unjustified measure, and owners are suffering due to the workers’ strike.

According to the union, it is an unnecessary markup since microdistilleries “manage their own labour, establishment, and bottle handling.” And the strike has only made matters worse, as the government has maintained the markup, despite having empty SAQ shelves.

“We were already deprived of revenues from the markup for on-site sales. We are struggling to hire new employees, acquire equipment, invest to develop our markets and ensure our sustainability, and even pay ourselves a salary,” said UQMD President Jonathan Roy.

The union added that Quebec has been promising for four years to remove the markup fee. And this would be a pivotal moment to follow through on past promises, the UQMD continued, since the holiday season represents nearly 50 per cent of spirits sales.
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