POM: Longshoremen Issue 72-Hour Notice of Indefinite Strike

A Port of Montreal rail crew switches containers at the Port of Montreal. RPO File Photo

23.April – MONTREAL QC – The Port of Montreal Longshoremen have given a 72-hour notice for an indefinite strike beginning on Monday, 26.April to the Maritime Employers Association (MEA).

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local (CUPE) 375, which represents over 1,100 longshoremen at Montreal’s port, said the full strike came as a response to MEA changing its regular schedules. Last week the longshoremen began a partial strike, refusing to work on weekends or to work overtime. That came in response to MEA suspending a guaranteed minimum pay.

MEA made the following statement on Twitter this morning:
“This morning, the MEA received a 72-hour notice of an indefinite general strike starting on Monday, April 26 from the union’s executive of the Port of Montreal Longshoremen.

It is important to state that The MEA used the provisions of the Collective Agreement which allow it to switch to regular schedules in order to compensate the harmful effects of the current strike.

This decision from the union’s executive is very disappointing while the fluidity of the logistic chain remains crucial to the economic recovery. The MEA is currently evaluating all of its options. We are eager for a speedy settlement.”2

In August of last year, the Port of Montreal longshoremen launched a strike that lasted 12 days, which caused major disruption and delays to many shipments.

The Port of Montreal says that the strike will have an immediate, significant and concrete impact for the port.  An unlimited general strike starting on Monday will put a permanent shutdown of a public infrastructure that serves millions of Quebecers and Canadians and circulates $275 million worth of goods every day, ranging from agri-food products to pharmaceuticals, building materials and flagship products exported by our local businesses.

“The Port of Montreal is a strategic infrastructure serving importing and exporting companies as well as the citizens of Quebec and Canada. This new work stoppage is a brake on the key role that port operations play in economic recovery and will have significant and very concrete impacts for the local population and SMEs ”, declared Mr. Martin Imbleau, Chairman and CEO. General of the Montreal Port Authority. “These are raw materials intended for our factories, computers for teleworking and fresh exotic fruits that no longer arrive on our docks, or even maple syrup and pork from Quebec producers that can no longer be distributed to four corners of the world via the Port of Montreal. It is therefore urgent to come to an understanding between the two parties. “

It should also be noted that the current episode of the partial strike provides that no cargo handling and docking services will be done during the weekend preceding the unlimited general strike.
This affects the following services and terminals:
  • Cast
  • Maisonneuve
  • Racine
  • Viau
  • Logistec terminals in Montreal and Contrecoeur (dry bulk)
  • CanEst
  • Lantic Sugar
Not affected by this situation:
  • Liquid bulk handling
  • Oceanex service (Bickerdike Terminal)
  • Grain terminal (Viterra)

CN and CP are preparing to route container traffic to other ports, including Halifax and Saint John, to facilitate the supply chain.  More details as they become available.