Hydro-Quebec engineers score win on teleworking grievance with Crown corporation

A Hydro Quebec logo is seen on their head office building Thursday, February 26, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Quebec's Administrative Labour Court has come down in favour of the union representing Hydro-Quebec's engineers in a dispute over teleworking.

The court issued an order telling Hydro-Quebec to cease obstructing or interfering in Syndicat professional des ingenieurs d'Hydro-Quebec activities. The Crown corporation was also ordered not to negotiate working conditions related to teleworking with employees who are union members.

The order doesn't prevent Hydro-Quebec from implementing a teleworking program even after employees are able to return to offices, but rather from negotiating the conditions of teleworking directly with union members.

The dispute between the two parties dates back to before the COVID-19 pandemic when, in 2019, Hydro-Quebec adopted a “management rule” concerning teleworking.

During the pandemic, when a return to offices was anticipated, Hydro-Quebec had weighed establishing “teleworking team charters” which focused on the organization of teleworking days and in-office days.

The union contested the charters, alleging that Hydro-Quebec could not implement the program by a simple directive issued by management.

The union represents 2,200 salaried engineers working for the Crown corporation.  

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 2, 2021. 

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