The St. Lawrence Seaway could be paralyzed by a strike that would have the effect of preventing any commercial vessels from sailing the St. Lawrence River, starting Sunday at 12:01 a.m.
After failing to reach an agreement with marine management company Saint Laurent (CGVMSL), about 360 employees representing Unifor intend to strike on Saturday, the union said, which filed a strike notice on Wednesday.
“Workers in all Seaway units are fed up,” Lara Payne, Unifor’s national president, exclaimed in a press release.
Unionized Seaway workers are demanding a “serious salary offer” and accuse the company of not responding to their concerns about their salaries.
“A strike is always a tool of last resort when it comes to negotiations, but these workers have been clear and united in their goals — and they are ready,” added Daniel Cloutier, director of Unifor Quebec.
The two camps intend to continue negotiations on Thursday with the help of a federal mediator, and if an agreement is not reached, they will prepare to close the sea route that allows the movement of ships from the Atlantic Ocean to the end of Lake Superior.
“As a result of UNIFOR’s strike notice, CGVMSL has begun implementing its detailed plans to ensure an orderly and safe shutdown of the network during the 72-hour notice period. “If unionized workers do go on strike, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to all traffic,” the company responded on Wednesday evening.
This strike comes at the height of the harvest season, but the institution was concerned.
“[Une grève] This would affect the movement of grains at a time when the world is in dire need of this essential commodity, while supply has been affected by the situation in Ukraine and the increasing frequency of global extreme weather events. “In good faith” with its workers.
In 2022, just over 4,000 cargo ships will use the sea route, transporting more than 36 million tons of cargo, including 10 million tons of grains of all types and 15.6 million tons of mining products.
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