METRO TO SETTLE 1993 UNION DISPSUTE

MONTREAL -- Metro-Richelieu here said it is proposing a new round of negotiations with the Confederation of National Trade Unions to settle a series of disputes that date back to 1993. r shut down its transportation division.In response to an injunction by the Quebec Superior Court, Metro-Richelieu said earlier this month it hopes to begin immediate negotiations with the CNTU, which represents transportation

MONTREAL -- Metro-Richelieu here said it is proposing a new round of negotiations with the Confederation of National Trade Unions to settle a series of disputes that date back to 1993.

r shut down its transportation division.

In response to an injunction by the Quebec Superior Court, Metro-Richelieu said earlier this month it hopes to begin immediate negotiations with the CNTU, which represents transportation workers, to settle all pending disputes. It also said it is ready to begin negotiations on the renewal of collective agreements in the company's transportation, office and printing sectors.

The dispute began early in 1993, when Metro-Richelieu determined it could operate more efficiently by selling its transportation division.

However, the CNTU said the sale of the division did not comply with the collective agreement in force at the time -- an opinion that was confirmed by an arbitrator in August 1994, reversed by the Quebec Superior Court in January 1995, then reversed again by the Quebec Court of Appeal in June 1996, which upheld the arbitrator's original ruling against the distributor.

The arbitrator said in November 1996 that his 1994 ruling had implied the drivers be recalled -- a decision subsequently contested by Metro-Richelieu, which no longer had any transportation operations. The union subsequently asked the Quebec Superior Court to issue an injunction against the distributor, which was granted earlier this month, prompting the distributor's proposal to reopen negotiations.