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Longshoremen Stage Four-Day Walkout at Port of Montreal

longshoremen on strike at port of montreal
Image courtesy Syndicat Des Débardeurs - SCFP Locale 375

By The Maritime Executive 07-27-2020 09:45:36

Longshoremen with the Canadian Union of Public Employees have declared a four-day strike at the Port of Montreal in protest over their work schedule. According to the union, longshoremen at the port work a rotation with 19 days on and two days off, year round (excepting holidays and port closures). 

The strike does not affect grain shipments, nor cargoes for Newfoundland and Labrador, in line with an order from Canada's Industrial Relations Board. Neither will it affect petroleum cargoes, according to the port. However, longshoremen will not handle lines for other cargo ships calling Montreal until 0700 hours Friday morning. Truck gates at the Montreal Gateway Terminals are closed until Friday morning, according to the operator's site. 

In a Facebook post Monday, the union accused terminal operator Termont of using non-union labor to continue operations. Termont, which manages two sites at the port, still listed normal gate hours from 0600 to 2215 daily on its status page. 

"The Montreal Port Authority is concerned about this situation, as Port activities are essential to keep the economy running smoothly and, in some cases, to ensure public health and safety," the port said in a statement. "A prolonged stoppage or slowdown in port operations is unwelcome, not only for the logistics and supply chain but also for the businesses and citizens who benefit from the movement of goods."

According to the port, the longshoremen are employed by the Maritime Employers' Association, not by individual terminals or the port authority. They have been operating without a collective bargaining agreement since the beginning of 2019, according to local media.  

It is the second labor action that the union has initiated at Port of Montreal this month. On July 2, longshore workers began a walkout at the Montreal Gateway Terminals at 1500 hours, returning to work on July 4.