The Port of Quebec longshore workers union demonstrated today in front of the offices of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) on this sad anniversary. On September 15, 2022, the Société des arrimeurs de Québec (SAQ) locked out 81 workers. Recently, we learned that the CDPQ will become one of the principal shareholders of QSL, a member of the SAQ, lighting a beacon of hope for longshore workers and their families.

“We hope that CDPQ will clean up QSL’s labor relations practices. QSL is part of why this situation has continued. CDPQ must do everything in its power to return to the bargaining table and resolve this conflict,” says CUPE representative Nina Laflamme.

The key issue in the dispute between the longshore workers and the Société des arrimeurs de Québec is the question of work schedules.  Employees refuse to continue being forced to work up to 80 hours a week.

“According to the Canada Labour Code, normal working hours are eight hours a day and forty hours a week. The maritime industry must adapt to this reality. After all, this is the 21st century! We want quality of life too,” adds Laflamme.

Anti-scab legislation

The dispute drags on as replacement workers perform longshore workers’ duties. In Quebec, the Labour Code prohibits employers from using replacement workers. However, the Port of Quebec falls under federal jurisdiction, which still has no anti-scab laws.

Thanks to the agreement between the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberals, a bill has finally been tabled in Ottawa - a step forward that is welcomed by the longshore workers’ union.

“We’re not the first to suffer because there’s no anti-scab legislation, but we sincerely hope we’ll be among the last!” said Sylvain Michaud.