Longshore workers at the Port of Montreal returned to work yesterday, ending a 12-day strike that had halted most cargo operations at Canada's second-largest port. Normal operations resumed at all port facilities as of Sunday, August 23 effective 7:00 a.m.
At a joint press conference Friday, the Maritime Employers Association and the Canadian Union of Public Employees announced a seven-month truce in the labour dispute, during which the two sides have agreed to negotiate a new collective agreement without the threat of a work stoppage.
President of the Maritime Employers Association, Martin Tessier, and CUPE Local 375 representative, Michel Murray, both said they were hopeful of reaching an agreement before the March 20, 2021 deadline, at which point the truce would end.
In a statement, the CUPE 375 said: “Both parties have agreed to suspend all pressure tactics during these months. By mutual agreement, they will be able to resort to arbitration at the end of this truce if certain points remain in dispute.”
The port also struck a deal with Local 1657 of the International Longshoremen’s Association, representing about 150 striking auditors, who are responsible for logging the cargo loaded and unloaded at the docks.
The dispute resulted in a number of container ships being diverted to Halifax and other east coast ports, while also seriously delaying the clearance of thousands of stalled containers and disrupting the supply chains of countless importers and exporters across the country.
Handling the 11,500 containers currently backlogged at the port is expected to take anywhere from two to four weeks.