Conservative members of Canada’s federal government teamed up this week to pass
legislation through the House of Commons to get striking Port of Montreal
dockworkers back on the job. During the hours-long debate on Bill C-29, members
of the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party voiced
their opposition to forcing the longshoremen to end their legal strike
ITF added its voice to the protest
On Thursday, 29
April 2021, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) added its
voice to the protest.
Government has launched an assault on the human rights of their own
president and Dockers’ Section chair of the ITF, said in a statement, “Justin
Trudeau’s government has launched an assault on the human rights of their own
citizens to withdraw their labour, in direct breach of Canada’s own
constitution, its laws and its international commitments.” The ITF believes the
proposed law may be illegal, saying that it contravenes not only the Canadian
constitution and rulings of the International Labour Organisation, but also a
2020 ruling of the Canada Industrial Relations Board that said Montreal’s
longshoremen do not provide an essential service and so cannot be restricted
from striking during the Covid pandemic.
According to the
ITF, the government is using the pandemic as an important reason for the strike
In fact, users of
the port, Canada’s importers and exporters, have emphasised that the ongoing
economic impacts of the pandemic would be worsened by a lengthy strike.
Numerous Canadian business associations have been lobbying the government for
weeks, well before the strike began, to legislate a quick resolution.
Although Local 375
of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the
Montreal dockworkers, has said the employer, the Maritime Employers Association,
had no incentive to bargain once the government announced it would legislate
employees back to work, Bill C-29 would, in addition, to ending the work
stoppage, establish a neutral mediation-arbitration process to resolve the
issues in dispute between the parties and conclude a new collective agreement.