Longshoremen at Port of Montreal set to strike

Click to play video: 'Port of Montreal strike could lead to delay in shipments'
Port of Montreal strike could lead to delay in shipments
WATCH: A strike by dockworkers at the Port of Montreal is set to begin Wednesday morning. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, the job walk-off threatens to delay the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods. – Apr 13, 2021

Delays in the delivery of products to your front door could be inevitable as 1,150 longshoremen (dockworkers) at the Port of Montreal go on a partial strike.

The employees are refusing to work on weekends as well as work overtime.

The labour dispute, which has lasted more than two years, largely revolves around work schedules according to the Longshoremen’s union representative, Michel Murray. At a press conference on Monday, he told reporters that employees want a schedule that better reflects the work and family life balance.

“We’re going to stop the supplementary (overtime) work, and we’re going to stop on the weekend,” Murray said.

A spokesperson for the longshoremen’s employer, the Maritime Employers Association told Global News the conflict revolves around the MEA deciding to no longer pay longshoremen when they’re not working, for instance, if an employee leaves the job site prior to the end of a shift. Marc-André Deshênes said this practice used to occur in the past but it won’t continue.

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The Port of Montreal handles more than $275 million a day of merchandise. But volume dropped by 11 per cent in March, and its capacity could be reduced to 30 per cent according to a statement issued by the Montreal Port Authority CEO, Martin Imbleau.

“I don’t want to be dramatic but it’s delays, costs and further uncertainty which brings additional delays and costs. So basically, it’s the food chain in general that’s being affected,” Imbleau told Global News.

READ MORE: Port of Montreal longshoremen’s union launches 4-day strike over working hours

Montreal business leaders are now calling on the federal government to intervene, demanding back-to-work legislation be adopted.

“Now it’s time for Prime Minister Trudeau to take a stand, a strong stand and say there will not be no work stoppage tolerated,” Michel Leblanc, the Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO told Global News.

Mediation talks between the two sides are continuing but so far no agreement has been reached.


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