SAQ's threat to strike on eve of Quebec's Fête nationale delayed

SAQ employees won't be striking this holiday weekend as union officials were unable to finish counting members' votes in time.

The last ballot box reached Montreal Friday evening

A man enters an SAQ outlet Monday in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Que. The union representing liquor commission's employees threatened to strike on the eve of Quebec's Fête nationale, but votes weren't counted in time. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

SAQ employees won't be striking this holiday weekend as union officials were unable to finish counting members' votes in time.

The union, Syndicat des employé(e)s de magasin et de bureau de la SAQ (SEMB), had threatened to launch a strike the day before Quebec's Fête nationale  — a day when people stock up on alcohol for the widely celebrated provincial holiday.

However, the voting process took longer than expected.

The SAQ's approximately 5,500 employees from some 400 branch locations voted on the proposed strike in recent days, but the last ballot box didn't reach the union's Montreal office until Friday evening.

The late arrival meant counting was postponed to Saturday.

Results of the vote will be communicated to members on Sunday and then announced publicly at midnight, according to the SEMB's website.

Union meetings over the last three weeks attracted a participation rate of nearly 55 per cent, the website states, and now the negotiating committee "will take the necessary time" to count the votes properly.

SAQ locations are closed across the province Sunday because of the holiday. Stores are scheduled to open Monday.

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