The Maritime Employers Association (MEA) at Canada’s Port of Montreal on Saturday morning gave 72 hours’ notice to the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 375 – representing longshoremen at the port – of its intention to withdraw the income guarantee that the longshoremen enjoy. This step was taken after the port “suffered a substantial 11%-volume drop in March, caused by the uncertainty and anxiety triggered by the labour relations situation.”
The union responded later that day. It has notified the MEA that, as of April 13, the longshoremen will not work overtime or participate in training activities. As of April 17, union members will not work weekend shifts.
On 21 March, 2021, the union rejected an offer from the MEA, with 99.71% of members voting against it. In a press conference following the vote, union rep Michel Murray said the union was aware of vessels already being diverted from the port and accused the MEA of not playing fair.
The union has been without a contract since 2018. After a 12-day strike in August 2020, the dockworkers and the MEA agreed to a 7-month truce, which ended on 20 March.
Although negotiations resumed in early April, the weekend’s activities indicate the two sides are no closer to resolving their differences.