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Mediators seeking to revive Montreal docker/employer negotiations


By Leo Ryan, Editor

Federal mediators are attempting to revive direct negotiations between the union representing Port of Montreal  dockers and the Maritime Employers Association (MEA). The talks have been “on pause” since Monday following four days of discussions which failed to make significant progress on outstanding issues for renewing a collective agreement which expired on December 31, 2018.

On Wednesday of this week, the mediators held a separate meeting with the CUPE 375 union representing 1,125 dockers seeking substantial changes in their working hours and scheduling regimes.

A similar separate meeting was planned for today with the MEA.

What transpires after the two separate encounters remains to be seen.

“They have to figure something out very soon if they want to meet the 7-month truce deadline of March 20,” commented an industry source. “Otherwise, anything can happen after that, including an agreement to extend the truce to avoid new work stoppages.”

A series of strikes last summer prompted about a dozen containerships to divert calls from Canada’s second biggest port to such ports as Halifax, Saint John and New York, while at the same time causing major supply chain delays in eastern Canada. It took several months last fall to clear a backlog of thousands of containers from the Montreal container terminals. (photo MPA)