The tone rose on Saturday in negotiations to renew the collective agreement for stevedoring workers at the Montreal port. The Marine Employers Association (AEM) provides the union a “72 hour notice” before suspending certain payment terms.
In a statement posted on social networks, MEA justifies its decision by the fact that the Port of Montreal “suffered a significant volume reduction of 11% in March, due to the uncertainty and anxiety arising from the situation. Related to labor relations”.
Consequently, the employer claims that he “exercised his right” to give a three-day notice to the union’s executive committee, in particular indicating his intention to “withdraw the income guarantee and stop paying hours of inactivity” in order to “compensate. For the harmful effects of such a reduction in size”.
In a press release, the unloading workers union confirmed the news on Saturday. An emergency meeting should be held throughout the day. This morning at 6:39 AM, Middle East Airlines sent […] 72-hour notice specifying that there will be a suspension of the job security plan starting Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 6:59 a.m. Stevedoring Workers Union President Martin Lapier wrote.
He says that negotiations have taken place “during the past four days” between the two sides. The union adds that “for the first time in seven months, the employer has really negotiated,” particularly about demands “that affect work-life balance and working hours,” which have been among the main points of contention since then. The beginning of this struggle.
“Still alive” negotiating table
On Friday afternoon, the two sides parted, “while determining to the mediators that the negotiating table is still alive,” insists Mr. Labier. However, the employer would have specified at the time that he was “examining his options”.
Remember, the unloading workers union rejected the employer’s latest offer by 99.7% on March 21, the last day of the 7-month truce that ended the August 2020 strike of its members ’strike mandate that is in effect until April 15.
They must also give notice 72 hours before the strike. The collective agreement for stevedoring workers at the Port of Montreal ended in 2018.
End of March, Journalism This has been reported AEM purchased advertising space in Montreal’s major newspapers to “assess the state of negotiations” with stevedores. She stated that loading and unloading workers at Montreal Port earn an average annual salary of $ 126,000, that they work 16 days in a 21-day period, and that their shifts generally only take 4 or 5 hours.
Loading and unloading workers oppose this “simplified” view. The union quickly denounced this strategy, accusing the employers of wanting to settle the labor dispute in the court of public opinion rather than sitting at the negotiating table. “The employer’s plan is not to negotiate and ask the government to do its job,” criticized CUPE 375 local advisor, Michael Murray. According to him, this media attack aims to “convince the public that the loading and unloading workers are evil and that this will require government intervention.”
Currently, the union requires its members to “do their jobs normally” until further notice.