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Violence: Port of Montreal managers, security guards roughed up during strike

Port of Montreal workers began a four-day walkout on Monday in a dispute mainly about working hours. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

PortandTerminal.com, July 30, 2020

Alleged incident occurred on the third day of a four-day strike by a union representing dockworkers and maintenance staff at the port | Strike extended by one day

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – The Montreal Gazette is reporting that a group of Port of Montreal managers and security guards were ambushed as they disembarked from a shuttle bus in a parking lot at the port. Montreal police are investigating the alleged assault which took place on Wednesday night. 

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

The Maritime Employers Association (MEA) denounced the alleged attack at a news conference Thursday morning.

Montreal police showed up at the scene at about 7 p.m. Police received a 911 call saying the managers and guards had been assaulted as they left a shuttle bus transporting them from the port installations to the parking lot.

By the time officers arrived, there were no attackers at the scene.

MEA president Martin Tessier told reporters about 50 strikers, some armed with bats, were waiting for the passengers, who are doing replacement work at the port.

“There were people struck in the face, people who had their phones stolen. People had their wallets stolen,” he said. “There were people waiting and when our people got off the bus, these people got out of their cars.”

Strike extended by one day

The Port of Montreal checker’s union announced a one-day strike beginning July 31 that will further disrupt operations after the port’s longshoremen have been on strike for most of the week.

The four-day strike arranged by the Syndicat des Débardeurs, the union representing the port’s longshoremen, will end at 7 am ET (1100 GMT) July 31. But the Port of Montreal Checker’s Union announced a 24-hour strike that will begin at 6 am ET July 31, pushing the ports’ resumption of normal activity back by one day.

The strikes were brought about after drawn-out negotiations concerning working hours and port workers’ status as “essential workers” stagnated.

“[The longshoreman] are expected to resume Friday and work through the weekend to catch up,” Montreal Port Authority Vice President Toni Boemi told a July 30 industry forum. “The first 72-hour strike notice caught everyone off guard.”

There will be no mooring or cargo handling services at the port during the strike period and all container terminal operations will be suspended, the port said.

Carriers have responded to the interruption by delaying arrivals. German carrier Hapag-Lloyd said in a letter to customers it expected delays and port congestion as operations resume, but will waive import storage charges and demurrage charges for the extent of the strike.

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