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Port of Montreal dock workers went on strike this week and refused to work overtime on weekdays or weekends

It is reported that dockers in the Port of Montreal are scheduled to start a partial strike on Tuesday, after their employers suspended minimum wage guarantees due to a 11% drop in freight volume.

The Canadian Dockers Union CUPE 375 has launched a full strike at Canada's second largest port. Dockers will not work overtime on weekdays or weekends, but they will handle containers related to the new crown epidemic and provide grain unloading services.

Earlier, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) announced that it would suspend the provision of guaranteed basic wages for dock workers and instead compensate them based on actual working hours. MEA said in a statement that the move was to cut costs in response to "decrease in freight volumes due to uncertainty and anxiety caused by labor relations."

The continuing discord between the MEAs and Dockers is not surprising. But apart from a contract that was overwhelmingly rejected by most dockers, nothing has been achieved.

▍Halifax Port (Halifax) is ready for strike

Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson said that Halifax Port, terminal operators and Canadian National Railways have been monitoring developments in Montreal and preparing for the possibility of another strike.

"We will continue to do our best to prepare." Farguson said.

Halifax is the fourth busiest port in Canada. During the 2020 strike, the transshipment industry has surged. Although industry organizations report that the transhipment to Halifax has been in progress for several weeks, Farguson said the port has not yet seen any significant impact.

Farguson pointed out that although there is no evidence of a surge in volume caused by the Montreal epidemic, the port's cargo volume related to COVID-19 demand continues to be strong.

If the strike puts Halifax into trouble again, Farguson said that Halifax Port and its partners will do their best to accept it, but will prioritize regular services.

Farguson said: "It is important to understand that the supply chain is not designed to cope with this level of pressure." He was referring to the new coronavirus-related demand plus severe labor disruptions.

▍Require the federal government to intervene to avoid a general strike

With the increasing possibility of a full-scale strike in Montreal, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under greater pressure and is required to step in to avoid another costly strike.

Dennis Darby, chairman and chief executive officer of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said in a statement: "We must prevent the situation last summer from happening again."

The association, which represents more than 2,500 companies, said its members have spent millions of dollars to transfer goods to Halifax. Darby said a full-scale strike would cause damage and called on the government to intervene.

Darby said: "Because the government is investing billions of dollars to restart the economy, there is no point in slowing down the business growth of the Port of Montreal." "That's why we need federal government intervention."