Deck stacked against public liquor store employees in bidding process

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Government’s promise to give public liquor store employees who are losing their jobs preferential consideration in bidding for a new private store is little more than a public relations move, according to SGEU.

When government announced its plan to privatize 40 public liquor stores in November 2015, it stated that employees would receive special consideration if they opted to bid for a private store license.

“Promising to give workers who lose their jobs a chance to become a business operator is a good public relations tactic, but the reality is that the special consideration outlined in the government’s Request for Proposals (RFP) process will do little to aid employees in becoming the successful bidder,” says Donna Christianson, chair of SGEU’s Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) bargaining unit.

“Despite government’s stated intention, SLGA employees are getting very little extra consideration, and face the daunting task of competing with established businesses, even large out-of-province retail chains, for the chance to run a private store,” Christianson says.

The preferential consideration given to affected employees under government’s RFP process is minimal, especially when stacked up against the importance placed on an applicant’s financial capacity.

“The deck is stacked against employees. Many of those losing their jobs have been part-time workers in small town stores for years. They are much less likely to be able to access investment capital than Sobeys or another well-established business,” she adds.

In the evaluation criteria for Phase 1 of the RFP process, being an affected employee is weighted at 10 per cent, while financial capacity – essentially the ability to raise large amounts of money – is weighted at 35 per cent.

In Phase 2, which selects the successful bidder, being a former employee of SLGA is only weighted at five per cent, while financial capacity is weighted at triple that value.

“The consideration given to affected employees will not come close to off-setting the advantage given to established businesses,” Christianson notes.

“The bottom line is that employees losing good, family-supporting jobs in cities and towns around the province will have little chance of being the successful bidder,” she says. “No matter how the government tries to spin it, this privatization plan, which will also mean the loss of millions in public profits, will hurt families and communities across Saskatchewan.”

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For more information contact:

Donna Christianson at 306-527-4768

or Susan Dusel,
Communications Officer
306-775-7249 office
306-520-4930 cell

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