Municipal councillors in the Cape Breton region are unhappy the Sydney Ports Corporation will hire non-union workers to tie up cruise ships at the marine terminal, work that had been done by unionized stevedores.

Council is worried about the effect on the cruise industry if union giant Unifor decides to organize protests when vessels dock during the summer.

"In the event that there's so-called union unrest, or any kind of uprising as a result of what they have done in hiring these people, then they need to be taken to task for that," Deputy Mayor Kevin Saccary said.

"And if anything, I would ask that if they don't fix this, every board member around that table should resign."

Council is also concerned about the motivation of the Sydney Ports Corporation, given that a new governing body will soon take control of the port.

It's expected that will happen when the federal government turns over actual ownership of the harbour bottom to the municipality.

"I would like to know what their motive is in regards to doing this when this structure is going to be changed," said Coun. Eldon MacDonald.   

"It doesn't make any sense to me that they would want to create this kind of upset in our community and possibly in two or three months time, or four months time, or whenever that time is — they may not even be there.  

"Why would you want to create that kind of upset in your community?"