Montreal

Longshoremen at Port of Montreal vote for strike mandate

The roughly 1,100 longshoremen at the port are looking to improve working conditions, including changing schedules that require members to work 19 days out of 21, said a union spokesperson

Better working conditions, including a change to schedules, are the key demand

As of November, cargo traffic in the first 11 months of the year was up around 8.5 per cent. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal have voted nearly unanimously for a strike mandate to be used at any time during ongoing contract negotiations with their employers.

Union spokesperson Michel Murray said 99.49 per cent of voting members recently gave their union the power to call a strike at the second-largest port in the country.

Murray says he is not optimistic regarding the state of negotiations between his union and the Maritime Employers Association, a group that includes ship owners, operators, agents and longshoring companies.

He says the roughly 1,100 longshoremen at the port are looking to improve working conditions, including changing schedules that require members to work 19 days out of 21.

Murray adds that longshoremen work under strict rules, face habitual disciplinary measures and are suspended frequently.

A spokesperson for the employers' association says negotiations are going well and its members are surprised by the union's statements.