The Senate on Friday evening passed a special bill to return to work the longshoremen of the Port of Montreal, who have been on strike since Monday, mainly against new working conditions related to scheduled allocations.
The longshoremen will therefore have to return to work on Saturday, with a fine of up to 000 100,000 per day for union and employer missed work.
Special bill C-29 does not immediately end the conflict, but imposes an arbitrator-arbitrator with the power to determine the details of the next collective agreement within 90 days.
“We believe these are the best collective agreements the parties have reached at the bargaining table. However, after more than two and a half years of federal sponsored negotiations and all other options, the law is needed to prevent further permanent damage to our economy, including the loss of a significant number of people and jobs,” Labor Minister Philomena said. Tassie said in a statement Friday evening.
The agency intends to challenge Bill C-29 in Canadian courts and international labor organizations, said Michelle Murray, a spokeswoman for the LongShoremens Union.
For his part, Martin Tessier, president of the Association of Maritime Employers (AEM), said in his talks with senators that the law should be passed on Friday to return to the old allocation policy of the schedule (hence changing the schedules rather than the new shift schedule).
Tessier explained that this new type of schedule was forced by the pandemic, which he said was allowed by collective agreement.
Bill C-29 was passed in the Commons on Wednesday night with the help of a Closer Motion approved Wednesday to allow the Longshormen to return to work.
Act of “Lost Resort”
“C-29 is the signal of the last refuge,” said Labor Minister Philomena Tassi.
“Unfortunately, it is absolutely necessary to end the strike at the port of Montreal before the situation becomes dire,” he added.
According to the minister, financial losses of at least 100 million per week for work lost from the total amount of the strike.
In addition, emergency medical equipment was stranded at the port, a union spokesman repeatedly denied.
The latter said he had been open since the strike began to longshoremen taking care to unload medical equipment if necessary, but the owner had made no request for this effect.