Six organizations said this morning they are extremely concerned about the impact “weeks of labour uncertainty” at the Port of Montreal will have on all organizations regardless of size.
The six are the Association du camionnage du Québec, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec , the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec.
On Saturday, a 72-hour strike notice was filed by the CUPE Longshoremen’s Union (local 375) to suspend certain activities, including training, overtime, and weekend work.
During a joint press conference, the associations called for a “firm and immediate intervention by the federal government to ensure activities at the Port of Montreal are maintained at all times and to reassure businesses.”
“Every day, 2,500 trucks move through the Port of Montreal, representing over 2,400 containers daily,” said Marc Cadieux, president and CEO of the ACQ. “Our members are already seeing a reduction in volume and goods being diverted to other ports. This has direct, major repercussions for the economy and for the supply of goods and products for Canadians.
“Our members anticipate job losses because a stoppage in port activities forces carriers to suspend operations and reduce personnel.”
The group say they plan to ask federal Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, to intervene immediately to prevent a situation that would have major economic consequences for Quebec and Canada.”
Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of national Affairs for the CFIB said maintaining activities at the Port of Montreal is of utmost importance for the Canadian economy: “A second strike in such a short time could have a negative impact on the activities of many SMEs. In Quebec alone, more than half of entrepreneurs are concerned about such an impact. This is a critical moment. The government needs to act quickly. It must spare no effort to ensure we do not penalize SMEs, which have already been shaken by the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Michael Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, said the situation at the Port of Montreal is deteriorating.
“We have been saying it for weeks: a stoppage in activities – even partial – is irresponsible,” he said. “The port is a strategic, essential pillar for the health of our businesses and a successful relaunch. The decisions we make today will have repercussions for months.”
Tassi, added Leblanc must act now and require an immediate return to normal activities to ensure the fluidity of the logistics chain. It is time to show firm resolve for the economic well-being of society.”
On March 18, the six organizations issued a joint declaration calling on Tassi and the federal government to make “every effort to ensure activities are maintained at the port and reassure businesses. To date, the declaration has garnered close to 450 signatures from all sectors of activity from Quebec and Ontario.”