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Accord ends Montreal newspaper's lockout

Locked-out employees of Le Journal de MontrĂ©al protest outside the Quebecor annual meeting on May 12, 2010, in Montreal. They accepted a contract offer on Sunday after two-thirds endorsed it.Photo: cbcnews

Unionised workers at the Journal de Montreal have voted to accept a contract offer, ending an employer lockout that lasted more than two years, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has reported. Quebecor Media locked out more than 200 employees in January 2009, arguing that journalists refused to adapt to changes in their job duties brought on by technologies including the Internet.

To avoid a strike, the company turned to a lockout, which allowed for the suspension of work contracts until an agreement was reached. Union members, heeding the advice of a government mediator, met Saturday and 64 percent voted for the new offer, ending the 764-day lockout. Sixty of 229 union workers will return to their jobs while the others will receive a separation payment divided from a total of $20 million -- an average of about $118,000 per person. "This is an employers' victory," said Raynald Leblanc, president of the workers union (STIJM-CSN).

Claudette Carbonneau, president of the Confederation of National Unions (CSN), which includes the Journal de Montreal union, has challenged the Quebec law that allowed the daily newspaper's continued publication, using non-union workers and other Quebecor staff. "We would hope that no one reads the Journal de Montreal," she said, while the circulation grew to around 300,000 during the conflict.

Meanwhile, Quebecor spokesman Serge Sasseville said: "We are satisfied with the vote." During the conflict, locked-out employees created a website, ruefrontenac.com, where they posted news, and since last fall have published a weekly paper version, distributed free of charge.

Date posted: February 28, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 141