Hydro workers forced to work overtime in labour dispute

A Hydro-Quebec logo is seen on their head office building, February 26, 2015 in Montreal. Newfoundland and Labrador has achieved a rare win in its longstanding battle with Hydro-Quebec over a 50-year-old agreement on sales of Churchill Falls power. The Quebec Court of Appeal says in a ruling that Churchill Falls Corp. Ltd., a subsidiary of Newfoundland's Crown corporation overseeing hydroelectricity, has the right to sell energy produced above a certain threshold. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

Quebec’s labour tribunal ruled in favor of Hydro-Québec on Sunday to force employees in northeastern Quebec to work on evenings and weekends.

Workers at the Bersimis complex have reportedly refused “in a concerted manner” to work evening and weekend shifts since Nov. 4, according to a court request submitted by Hydro-Québec on Friday.

The court ruled that the employees’ actions were illegal.

The state-owned hydro company says that if employees refuse to work, repairs on broken equipment would be delayed, affecting energy production.

That can be a bigger problem in the winter when electricity use is at a maximum level, according to Hydro-Québec.

Union members and Hydro-Québec representatives met on Friday to try to resolve their dispute, but no agreement was reached. Both parties testified in court on Saturday.

As per the court order, employees will resume their normal shifts as well as overtime on evenings and weekends.

-- This report was first published by the Canadian Press on Nov. 22, 2020. 

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