Deal reached in Montreal port lockout 0
MONTREAL - The crippling lockout at the Port of Montreal will end Saturday after the Maritime Employers Association and the union representing 850 locked-out longshoremen reached at deal.
The agreement follows a day of intensive negotiations with a mediator in Montreal. The workers will vote on the deal on Friday.
The talks on Thursday centred around a demand by shipping firms for the longshoremen stop pressure tactics for several months before contract talks continued. The union said its members had always been prepared to return to work.
"Following ratification by our members, we can go on to the next step:
intensive negotiations as of Monday (for) a new collective agreement," said Daniel Tremblay, president of Local 375 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
The longshoremen will be allowed back on port grounds at 8 a.m. Saturday, the Maritime Employers Association said in a statement.
The four-day lockout delayed deliveries of an array of goods to central Canada and the Atlantic provinces including food, pharmaceuticals and furniture.
Some 90% of all Quebec imports pass through the port, which generates $1.5 billion in economic activity every year.
Newfoundland and Labrador was concerned given that the island portion of the province depends almost exclusively on goods delivered through the port.
The labour dispute centres around salaries and job security. Shippers want to drop an income supplement that pays longshoremen their full salary even if there are no ships to service. As talks stalled this year, the port workers staged pressure tactics that included refusing to work overtime.
That prompted the shipping firms to lock out the longshoremen on Monday, forcing a number of container ships to divert to Halifax, New York and Virginia.
The Canada Industrial Relations Board was prepared to put an end to the dispute by the weekend had both sides been unable to reach a deal. The board has the power to force all sides in a labour dispute to offer essential services.