Montreal port staff vow to combat again after Canada authorities passes legislation to finish strike By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Longshore workers on strike outside the Port of Montreal in Montreal
(Reuters) – A union representing dock workers in Canada’s second largest port said Saturday it would challenge the Canadian government’s new strikers law in court for violating fundamental rights protected by the charter.
Late Friday, the Canadian government passed a return to work law to stop a strike that workers started this week in the port of Montreal over changes to their work schedules.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Quebec’s 1,125 longshore workers at the port have called the Maritime Employers Association’s new work schedules unfair and called for them to be withdrawn. They started their second strike in less than a year on Monday.
CUPE said it was a dark day for workers’ rights in Canada.
“Prime Minister Trudeau has just sent a strong and clear message to all employers across the country: you don’t have to negotiate in good faith with your workers because if things get difficult we will be there to help,” said Mark Hancock. President of CUPE National said.
Labor Minister Filomena Tassi said in a statement on Friday that the bill had received royal approval and ended the strike. All port operations would have to resume when the law went into effect on Saturday.
The government will work with the parties in the coming days to select a mediator to reach an agreement, Tassi said, adding that a mediator arbitrator will be selected in the coming days.
The unionized workers have been in contract negotiations since 2018.
Business leaders had urged the government to step in and raised concerns about the strike, which is disrupting supply chains as the country struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimated that the stoppage would cost between C $ 10 million and C $ 25 million a day.
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