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Federal Labour Minister urges Montreal dockers and port employers to renew and resolve negotiations


The federal Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, has expressed serious concern regarding the February 12 suspension of collective bargaining negotiations between the Syndicat des débardeurs, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 375 and the Maritime Employers Association.

Following a seven-month truce ending on March 21, negotiations had recently resumed to replace a collective agreement that had expired on December 31, 2018. Working hours and scheduling have emerged as the biggest outstanding issues.

“The Government of Canada has faith in the collective bargaining process. Since October 2018, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has been working closely with the Syndicat des débardeurs, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 375 and the Maritime Employers Association,” the Minister said last Friday. “This nearly two and a half year commitment to the negotiation process is evidence of our belief that the best deals are made at the negotiating table.”

“I have reached out to all parties throughout the negotiation process, as have a number of my ministerial colleagues. At my request, Mr. Peter Simpson, Director General of the FMCS, and Mr. Robert Bellerose, Regional Director, Quebec Region – FMCS, two senior mediators, were recently added to the file to provide further assistance to the parties in their negotiations.

“After seven days of meetings, the mediators suspended face-to-face meetings with the parties after determining that the gap between the parties is too significant at this time to conclude a collective agreement.

“I have asked the mediators to continue to be in close contact with the parties. If their positions change in a way that is likely to lead to an agreement, the federal mediators will reconvene the parties as soon as possible.

“The Government is keenly aware of the central role that the Port of Montréal plays in movement of goods across Canada, particularly in Quebec and Ontario. Reaching an agreement at the bargaining table is in the best interest of workers, unions, employers and all Canadians.

“We strongly encourage both parties to immediately do the hard work necessary to reach an agreement. The Government of Canada will continue to be there throughout the negotiations to support their efforts.” (photo MPA)