Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Port of Montreal | The loading and unloading workers reject the employer’s offer, but want to resume negotiations

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(Montreal) Stevedoring workers overwhelmingly rejected Sunday the offer of an employer who qualified to be the finalist. Their union calls for the resumption of negotiations as soon as possible. At the moment, the latter does not intend to send a 72-hour strike notice, which is a mandatory step to legally stop work.

André DubuqueAndré Dubuque

The employer’s offer was rejected by 99.71%. The secret ballot took place on Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Out of 1,100 members, 1023 expressed themselves: 1020 against the employer’s offer, and two members with one abstention. The participation rate was over 91%.

As far as we are concerned, the union and their negotiators are at the negotiating table, it can no longer be the basis for discussions, the final offer to the employers. “It will be cold in hell before the loading and unloading workers are allowed to be fooled by a similar offer from the employer,” said Michael Murray, a union advisor, when the results were revealed at a press conference.

According to the union, the bid included 80 requests from employers and only responded to 4 union demands.

The employers’ party made a final offer on March 12, in which it suspended the negotiation process until the outcome of the vote on the employer’s offer was revealed by union members.

The two sides entered into a truce for seven months during which the two sides did not speak publicly in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement. It ended on Sunday.

The union already has a note in her pocket to call a strike. This is valid for 60 days and ends on April 15th.

Mediation continues

The Longshoremen Federation, a member of the Canadian Confederation of Public Servants, is inviting the management team to sit down as quickly as possible at the negotiating table. “Our desire to negotiate with the employers. Mr. Murray insisted that we have not sent out any strike notices.”

The union promised to contact the mediators appointed by the federal government at the end of the Sunday afternoon to inform them of the voting results and the readiness of the loading and unloading workers to resume negotiations. “The mediation continues,” Murray said.

The main issue concerns the work schedule. Longshoremen complains that they have to work 19 days out of 21. At a press conference, board member Murray said that stevedores are willing to earn less in exchange for a better work-life balance.

The average salary is $ 126,000, excluding fringe benefits, according to the Association of Maritime Employers (AEM), which represents employers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the end of the day, “We preferred a positive vote, but we have taken note of the Union’s readiness to continue negotiations.” We are examining our options and our priority remains settlement as soon as possible. ”

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“Temporarily, the worst was averted Sunday,” commented Marc Cadeau, president of the Quebec Trucking Federation. According to the port authority, 2,500 containers enter or leave the port by truck every day. Mr. Kidio called on Canadian Labor Minister Philomena Tassi to take the necessary measures to find a solution to the two-year situation.

“The federal government has a leadership role in ensuring that the impasse in the Port of Montreal is resolved,” said Yasmine Geneti, vice president of national affairs for the Canadian Association of Independent Business, which represents small and medium-sized businesses. According to a recent survey of its members, half of Quebec entrepreneurs are anxious and fear negative consequences in the event of a strike at the Montreal port.

For its part, the Council of Employers welcomes the union’s desire to continue negotiations, but deplores the overwhelming rejection of the employers ’offer. “It’s good news for a day that doesn’t have a lot of it,” President and CEO Karl Blackburn said in an interview. He fears the uncertainty will persuade ship owners to divert deliveries to other destinations, which could lead to losses to Montreal’s economy.

Last week, the Federation noted the hijacking of the first ship bound for Halifax.

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