Gradual return to work at Montreal port after truce with employer
MONTREAL – Longshore workers at the Port of Montreal are headed back to work today, after a truce declared in a labour dispute allowed activities to resume after a 12-day strike.
The two sides announced on Friday that they’d reached a deal putting the labour action, which left thousands of containers untouched on the docks, on hold.
The deal lays out a seven-month period where talks will continue without a threat of work stoppage.
Both sides said this week they’re confident a deal can be ironed out before March 20, 2021, at which point the agreement would end.
The longshore workers, who have been without a contract since September 2018, say the strike that began Aug. 10 revolved largely around wages and scheduling.
The labour dispute diverted at least eight container ships to ports in Halifax, Saint John, N.B., and New York City, affecting thousands of importers and exporters and halting most of the 2,500 trucks that roll in and out of the port daily, according to the Maritime Employers Association.
The association says it will take two to four weeks to move the accumulated containers and bulk goods off the terminals and onto trucks, trains and ships.
The employers have also reached an agreement in principle for a renewed collective agreement with the port’s roughly 150 checkers, who are responsible for logging the cargo loaded and unloaded from hundreds of ships each year.
Members of the International Longshoremen’s Association local, who have been on strike, will hold a ratification vote on the deal on Monday.