Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series of weekend strikes today, adding to the overtime strike launched earlier this week as negotiations over a collective agreement drag on.

The labour actions mark the end of a seven-month truce that began in August as workers and employers bargain over wages and scheduling.

Representatives of the dockworkers’ union and the Maritime Employers Association met Thursday along with three mediators assigned to the file by federal Labour Minister Filomena Tassi.

The weekend strike by 1,150 workers, who have been without a collective agreement since September 2018, could be the first of many if discussions do not progress.

The dockworkers, who are not picketing, initially voted to strike in December 2018.

The move preceded more than two years of transport drama, punctuated by a CN rail strike in November 2019, track blockades in February 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, which initially triggered sharp declines in cargo volume.