Quebec union pushes for convenience store worker rights
Quebec, Norway groups say Couche-Tard must recognize unions
Labour groups in Quebec and Norway are joining forces to push Alimentation Couche-Tard to recognize the union rights of workers in their convenience stores.
The Confederation of National Trade Unions and the Norwegian union of commercial and office employees say the retail chain uses "coercive tactics" to delay recognition of union efforts at Couche-Tard and Statoil locations.
Leaders from the two unions met this week in Oslo to map out their battle plans.
HK-Norway, which represents 263 employees at several Statoil Fuel & Retail stores, says it will push to have Couche-Tard recognize existing unions that have negotiated collective agreements with the chain's former owners.
The Quebec union, which represents about 100 employees at eight stores, said Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) makes life difficult for any employees wanting to join a union and negotiate working conditions.
Couche-Tard is Canada's largest convenience store operator and one of the largest in the world. Among its banners are Couche-Tard and Mac's in Canada, Circle K in the United States and Statoil in northern Europe.
The company operates 8,467 locations in the U.S., Europe and Canada, including nearly 2,500 added in the past 40 weeks. It also has about 4,150 Circle K stores operating under licensing agreements in several countries in Asia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The Canadian union's general secretary, Jean Lortie, claims that Couche-Tard has closed down profitable outlets and transferred ownership to franchisees in order to avoid accepting unions.
The Norwegian union is asking the government to ensure that the Government Global Pension Fund plays the role of active investor in Couche-Tard as it has done in other companies in which it is a shareholder.