Port of Montreal longshoremen's union launches four-day strike
The dispute is mainly about working hours, union says
Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal launched a four-day strike Monday morning.
The union representing striking workers gave the Maritime Employers Association 72 hours notice Friday.
Union members affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees will not provide any mooring services during the strike, except for supplies to Newfoundland and Labrador and for grain vessels, in order to comply with a decision rendered by the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
The union said the dispute is mainly centred on working hours.
"The current system consists of working 19 consecutive days out of 21, 365 days a year, apart from public holidays and those when the port is closed," said union spokesperson Michel Murray.
After 19 days on the job, workers are then given a two-day break, he said.
"The employer has removed the work-life balance part that we were looking for," said Murray.
The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) said in a Friday statement that the strike does not affect liquid bulk handling, the Oceanex service or the grain terminal.
The statement says port activities are essential to keeping the economy running smoothly and, in some cases, to ensure public health and safety.
"We are therefore monitoring the situation closely and we hope that the employer of the longshoremen, the Maritime Employers Association, and the union will be able to come to an agreement quickly," said the MPA's statement.
In an email Monday, the MPA said the situation is "manageable," but some ships have slowed their course or will be anchored in standby for a few days while two others were able to leave this morning.
With files from the Canadian Press and Radio-Canada