The 81 longshore workers at the Port of Quebec, who have been locked out for 14 months by the Société des arrimeurs de Québec, have a glimmer of hope and are encouraged by the anti-scab legislation promised by the federal government, which came about thanks to the Liberal government’s agreement with the NDP.

The tabling of this legislation represents a step toward achieving a better union-employer power balance in organizations under federal jurisdiction. In the past 14 months, activities at the Port of Quebec have not subsided since the employer is using replacement workers, a practice prohibited by companies under provincial jurisdiction in Quebec.

The longshore workers are demonstrating this morning and are delivering a relatively optimistic message in front of QSL offices on Champlain Blvd. QSL is a longshore operator at the Port of Quebec.

“Had this legislation already been on the books, we’re convinced this conflict would have been resolved long ago. The employer would have gotten down to serious negotiations rather than resort to unfair practices. This legislation means that, in the not-too-distant future, the drama that occurred during the longshore workers’ lockout will be a thing of the past, and that’s encouraging,” said CUPE representative Nina Laflamme.

The dispute pitting longshore workers against the Société des arrimeurs de Québec is mainly based on work schedules. They are refusing to continue to be forced into working up to 80 hours a week.

“According to the Canada Labour Code, a normal work schedule calls for eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. The maritime industry must adapt to this reality. After all, we’re in the 21st century! We want some quality of life as well,” said Sylvain Michaud, vice-president of CUPE 2614 the Syndicat des débardeurs du port de Québec.