Longshore workers at the Port of Montreal reached a tentative agreement with employers Friday. The head of the union says members are sure to ratify it.
The Maritime Employers Association at the Port of Montreal reached the agreement under federal mediation with Canada's largest union Canadian Union of Public Employees.
The roughly 900 longshoremen locked out for five days in July will vote on the agreement on Sept. 23, and "they will accept it, for sure," Daniel Tremblay, president of CUPE Local 375, said in an interview Monday.
The agreement runs retroactively from January 2009 until Dec. 31, 2012. It gives the longshore workers pay increases of 1.5 percent for the retroactive year, 2 percent for 2010 and 2011 and 2.5 percent for 2012, Tremblay said.
The number of longshore workers will be reduced by 50 through retirement this year as a means of meeting the essential concern of the MEA that costs of providing job security for workers had been too high. In another cost reduction, the guaranteed hours of work for 55 employees have been reduced to 36 hours a week from 40.
The practice of paying workers to remain on standby for late or early-hours' loading and unloading of ships will remain unchanged, with these exceptions, Tremblay said.
The agreement says that two years from now there may be a further decrease in guaranteed hours paid for some workers, to 32 hours for new union members.
The MEA also agreed to help the union with its pension fund deficit. Employer spokesman Steve Flanagan has told the media that the agreement is "based on profitability at the port."
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