Seven days after of the resumption of activities at the Port of Montreal, tie–ups and delays continue to disrupt operations. According to the longshoremen, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) holds the key, but hesitates to use it, probably to save a few dollars. The longshoremen cite, as an example, the special schedule under the collective agreement that allows trucks to deliver and pick up containers ten hours a day instead of eight.
“Although the pointless MEA lockout was lifted after five days, its effects continue to be felt. This week, the situation has been very difficult for the truckers and for companies that are waiting for containers. We share their frustration, since we have no responsibility or control over it. We urge the employer to use all means at its disposal to ensure that the port is operating at 100 per cent,” said Daniel Tremblay, president of Port of Montreal Longshoremen’s union (CUPE 375).
“On July 20, the Montreal Port Authority obtained an injunction to do paving work at one of the terminals. That work, although not urgent, is continuing and contributing to the slowdown. The City of Montreal also is doing major waterworks this week on one of two eastbound lanes on Notre Dame Street, which is aggravating the situation. The least that the MEA could do is to minimize the delays and maximize shifts as allowed under the collective agreement,” added the president.
The Port of Montreal longshoremen have been without a contract since December 31, 2008. They were locked out by the MEA from Monday, July 19 to Saturday, July 24. At a special general meeting held on July 23, nearly 700 members voted in favour of the return-to-work protocol that ended the lockout.
CUPE is the largest longshoremen’s union in Quebec. The longshoremen at the ports of Montreal, Quebec City, Matane, Contrecoeur, Sorel-Tracy, Trois-Rivières and Bécancour are affiliated with CUPE. With nearly 105,000 members, CUPE is the largest affiliate of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ).