The strike that has lasted for a week at the Agropur factory in Saint-Laurent, west of Montreal, is now over. An agreement in principle was accepted on Sunday by the majority of union members and a return to work is planned for this Monday.

“There are a lot of people who question the relevance of strikes. By choosing to protest and stop their work, our members managed to make themselves heard, and to seek, in one week, what could have taken months or even years to obtain,” Jean explained on Sunday. -François Pelletier, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 1999.

His group represents, among others, the 250 employees of the factory on Boulevard Lebeau, in Saint-Laurent. Spread over a period of six years, the new collective agreement for the factory’s employees includes minimum salary increases of 21.5% during this period. Certain skilled trades will receive a larger increase, a “significant gain” according to the union.

Seven days ago, the factory’s employees, whose collective agreement had expired since September, launched a strike. This week, the strike had raised its share of concerns, particularly in relation to supply problems.

Milk brands like Québon and Natrel, which are produced by Agropur, were missing from the shelves of several grocery stores in the region, much to the dismay of consumers. Managers in executive positions had to replace employees during the strike.

“Just a few days after the strike began, there was a shortage of some of the products. It demonstrates the essential role that our members play in the supply chain, and they deserve compensation that reflects this role,” argued Teamsters union representative Jérôme Gendron.

By email, Agropur for its part was delighted on Sunday with the signing of an agreement, believing “to have reached a fair and equitable agreement for employees while allowing the Cooperative to remain strong and competitive.”

“Employees will begin a gradual return from [Monday] to the factory. Our goal is to resume our activities at full capacity, starting this week. We would like to thank our customers and consumers for their patience and resilience,” said the director of public relations, Guillaume Bérubé.

Agropur is a cooperative that brings together more than 2,800 dairy producers and has 7,350 employees spread across several facilities. Earlier this year, the cooperative revealed that its surplus reached 127.2 million in the financial year ended October 29, up 31.3% compared to the same period last year. Revenues, for their part, reached 8.5 billion, an increase of 16.5%.