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Police arrest 9 as suspects in intimidation during ongoing strike at Port of Montreal

Workers hold picket signs outside the Port of Montreal on Monday. The local longshore workers union has launched a general strike. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

PortandTerminal.com, August 13, 2020

MONTREAL – The Montreal Gazette is reporting that police in Montreal have arrested nine people as part of an investigation into alleged acts of intimidation used when management tried to replace striking employees at the Port of Montreal last month.

The incident occurred on the third day of an earlier four-day strike, launched by a union representing dockworkers and maintenance staff at the port.

The victims were confronted by more than 50 people as they headed to their personal vehicles at a parking lot.

The investigation began on July 29, after several executives and security guards were assaulted that evening after they exited a bus that had shuttled them from the port to a parking lot. The people confronted were replacing striking workers like longshoremen, foremen and maintenance workers who were on a four-day strike.

According to the Maritime Employers Association (MEA), some of the victims were assaulted and in other cases personal items like wallets and cell phones were stolen.

“Intimidation, mischief and assault.”

On Thursday, the Montreal police issued a release stating that the nine people who were arrested Wednesday are suspected of “intimidation, mischief and assault.”

“A picket line that went wrong.”

During a news conference held the following day, Michel Murray, a representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), said the union took full responsibility for what transpired. He characterized what happened as “a picket line that went wrong.” But he also accused the executives of provoking the strikers.

Current strike

CUPE, which represents 1,125 dock workers, launched a general strike on Monday in which it has essentially shut down the Port of Montreal. Negotiations aimed at renewing their contract have been scheduled throughout this week.

The collective agreement expired in December 2018. The main point of dispute concerns working hours.

Today, CargoM, an industry association of logistics and freight transport industry stakeholders in Quebec issued a statement expressing concern over the impact the strike at the Port of Montreal is having on the broader economy.

“This situation jeopardizes the economic sector of logistics and freight transport, which in Greater Montreal alone, accounts for over 70,000 direct jobs, 50,000 indirect jobs and 6,000 businesses.”

“As an exporter, our operations are heavily penalized by this strike. In an extremely competitive market in the context of an economic crisis, our leeway is limited. With the rail blockade and the recent strikes, more and more international clients are losing confidence in our supply chain in Canada, in favour of foreign players. We must act immediately to put an end to this situation,” said Stéphane Chevigny, President of Groupe Intersand.

But for now, the strike continues. The Canadian Government

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