A mechanic decries a battery factory’s “English” hiring process

An angry mechanic says the Altium CAM battery factory rejected his CV because it was written in French, prevented him from conducting job interviews in Quebec’s official language and demanded a new version “in English”.

“I sent them my CV in French last February. They asked me to send it back to them in English. A few weeks later, I had an interview. They told me: ‘We’re going to do the interview in Korean,'” David W. Newspaper Fearing reprisals for his denunciation, he gave a fictitious name.

“Quebec’s official language is French. It’s not English. Foreign companies that come to set up here with our grants have to speak French,” fumed the Korean-born Quebecer who arrived here in his thirties.

Nearly $152 million in public funding

In Bécancour, the Ultium CAM factory, owned by American General Motors (GM) and South Korean POSCO, is one of the main areas of the battery industry. He received almost $152 million in loans from Quebec, including a forgivable $134 million from the Legault government.

The Ultium CAM factory was under construction last summer.

Photo by Francis Hall

The factory in Center-du-Québec plans to hire 200 workers to make GM battery products that will go into electric Hummers and Cadillacs to green the economy.

But David W.’s actions at the South Korean steel company POSCO, during the hiring process, stirred something deep within him.

A mechanic of a battery factory

David W. could not digest the arrival of a foreign giant that ignored French truth and established itself in Quebec.


“It shocked me because I’m of Korean descent. The Japanese colonized my country. We were forced to speak Japanese, so I’m sensitive to it,” the man breathes in a calm tone.

Two complaints already to OQLF

Question raised by NewspaperThe Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) has confirmed that it has already received two complaints against Ultium CAM.

“Both complaints concern the need for a language other than French for access to a post. As provided in the charter, they were transferred to the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST),” pointed out its spokeswoman Chantal Bouchard.

“It is the CNESST’s responsibility to process certain complaints related to the language of work, particularly regarding the need for a language other than French for access to a post,” he added.

“a scam”

last days, Newspaper It was found that some posted positions for technicians and maintenance engineers at Ultium CAM in Bécancour do not require knowledge of the French language.

Asked by NewspaperThe company was quick to argue that it was an “imbroglio”.

“French is very important to Ultium CAM’s managers and I can assure you that this is a mess, and we will make sure to fix it as quickly as possible,” assured its human resources manager Anabel Jolicoire Detralet.


David W. When asked to explain the case, Ultium CAM declined for “legal reasons.”

“The various Korean managers who are in Quebec for Ultium CAM are taking French language courses because they feel it is necessary to do so because it is part of our company culture,” he replied. magazine Mme Jolicoire Tetrault.

Ultium CAM respects Law 96, specifically the “franchising program” aimed at publishing job opportunities in French and generalizing the French language in its operations.

“We confirm that the working language of the Ultium CAM factory will be French and that our company complies with the various Quebec regulations regarding the French language,” he concluded.

– In collaboration with Yves Lévesque

Newspaper CNESST also learned that Ultium CAM had issued “a corrective notice” to the factory regarding the lifting platform security in another file. The intervention took place on October 26 after the complaint. The boss complied.

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