Viterra, one of the main grain marketer/handlers at the Port of Montreal, sent a lockout notice to 51 operators who were negotiating for the same working conditions as the vast majority of Port of Montreal workers. The lockout will take effect on Tuesday, January 30, at 7 a.m.

“These operators handle the loading and unloading of grain. They simply wanted equity with the other Port employees. It’s a very specialized workplace, and the request to be paid for time and a half in the evenings and double-time at night is perfectly legitimate,” said Eric Sinclair, President of CUPE 5317.

The parties were in mediation and even had a meeting scheduled for February 8. Negotiations were stalled on the issues of wages and scheduling.

“The Viterra operators have the support of a large Canadian union, the marine sector of CUPE, as well as the support of the majority of Port of Montreal workers who are also represented by CUPE,” said Jean-Pierre Proulx, CUPE union representative.

With nearly 115,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents the Longshoremen’s Union of the Port of Montreal, as well as the longshoremen at the ports of Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sorel, and Matane, and the Arrimage du Saint-Laurent longshoremen (Baie-Comeau), for a total of 1,242 members.