Strike mandate at the port of Montréal: what are the essential services to maintain?

Mandat de grève au port de Montréal: quels services essentiels maintenir?

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The port is an infrastructure of 26 kilometres to Montreal, more than 4 kilometers Reluctantly.

While a threat of a strike looms over the port of Montreal, the Union of longshoremen and the maritime employers Association have begun on Monday to discuss the essential services to maintain, as the case may be.

The union of 1125 longshoremen, local 375 of the canadian Union of the public service, affiliated with the FTQ, may not exercise its strike mandate — nor the direction of its right to lockout — as long as the canada industrial relations Board has not ruled on the essential services to maintain. Two weeks of hearings are scheduled before the CIRB ; they began on Monday.

The Union of stevedores, has to 99.5 %, in December last, of a mandate as a means of pressure which can go up to the strike, to be triggered at the appropriate time. It represents operators of heavy machinery, signals, attendant to the hold of the vessels, electricians and mechanics.

From the outset Monday, the maritime employers Association has requested that in the event of the outbreak of the strike, the totality of the activities of the longshoremen is maintained.

The first witness heard, Guillaume Couture, director of workforce and labor, explained that, even if there was no strike, but work slowdown, ” it will slow the string, create a shortfall somewhere, create a congestion. And this congestion will catch up with us on the ship, on the train and there will be too many boxes on the terminal where I have to manage the deliveries. A terminal, it is a balance between the import and the export ; this is not a warehouse “. He also indicated that food and medicines would remain too long at the port, in the event of a long strike, could be become outdated. It has also raised the presence of hazardous materials, radioactive.

A single vessel that transports bulk deicing salt can carry 35,000 tonnes, has there been illustrated.

Exaggerated, the union says

The union, for its part, considers “significantly exaggerated” the application of maritime employers maintain all of the activities in the event of a strike. All the goods pass through the port are not likely to create problems of health or safety of the public, he stressed. Similarly, he recalled that there are other means of transport than ships and, in addition, there are also other ports. He also recalled that the supreme Court of Canada had ruled in 2015 that the right to strike was a constitutional protection in order to ensure a certain balance in the ratio of forces between the parties.

Among the issues at the heart of the dispute, we note the salaries, the work-life balance. The union advisor with the CUPE Michel Murray explained that the longshoremen are being asked to work 19 days out of 21, before you have a leave of two days, because of the high activity at the port of Montreal. This question of hours of work is therefore in dispute.

The port is an infrastructure of 26 kilometres to Montreal, more than 4 kilometers Reluctantly. It receives ships that can be 300 meters long. It serves the Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, a part of the east coast of the u.s., a part of the american Midwest and a part of the canadian West.

Every day, nearly 800 longshoremen can work at the port — a working port 24 hours on 24, 7 days on 7 and 358 days out of 365.

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