Montreal

Montreal Old Port workers' strike costs small business owners

The strike by some 200 workers at the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal has been going on for ten days, and businesses shut down by the strike are struggling to cope with the loss of income.

Businesses with leases in buildings owned by Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal asked to stay closed

A banner hangs from the Science Centre at Montreal's Old Port on May 27, the first day of the strike by 200 workers. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

The strike by some 200 workers at the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal has been going on for ten days, and businesses are struggling to cope with the loss of income.

Adam Harvey owns O'Quai Bistro, a restaurant connected to the Science Centre, and said he's losing thousands of dollars per week because of the strike.

He said he doesn't have to stay closed at the onset of the summer tourist season, but the Old Port has asked him not to open for the strike's duration.

"I could be open and be a delinquent, but these are not part of my values," Harvey told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Harvey said that he opened at the end of April and only got his first paycheque two weeks ago. Now he won't be getting any more revenue for the foreseeable future.

He said his options are limited, so he's simply pushing for a resolution of the dispute as quickly as possible.

Old Port reacts

A spokeswoman for the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal, Sophie Morin, said that for security reasons the Science Centre cannot stay open during the strike.

"We are aware of the impact this employees' strike is having on those who operate businesses in the Old Port," Morin said. "We are hoping to return to the negotiating table."

The striking workers, members of the Syndicat des employés du Vieux-Port de Montréal, are seeking a substantial wage increase. They represent workers in the box office, sales clerks, maintenance workers, parking attendants and security personnel. 

The union wants to boost entry-level wages from the current $10.67 an hour to $15 an hour.

Management counters that the average salary now works out to $17.09 an hour. It's offering a 9.5 per cent salary increase over four years.

with files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak

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