© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dockworkers on strike in front of the Port of Montreal in Montreal
(Reuters) – The Canadian government passed return-to-work legislation late on Friday to end a strike that began at the port of Montreal this week by workers over changes to their working hours. Labor Minister Filomena Tassi said in a statement that the bill received royal approval, ending the strike, adding that all port operations should resume when the law takes effect on Saturday. The 1,125 dockworkers from the Canadian Union of Public Employees of Quebec at the port, Canada’s second-largest, have called the Maritime Employers Association’s new working hours unfair and demanded that they be withdrawn. They began their second strike in less than a year on Monday. Unionized workers have been in contract negotiations since 2018. The government will work with the parties to select a mediator in the coming days to help reach an agreement, Tassi said. “A mediator-arbitrator will be selected in the next few days after receiving the names of the parties. If they do not submit the same name, I will appoint a mediator-arbitrator,” he said. Business leaders had urged the government to intervene, expressing concern that the strike will disrupt supply chains as the country struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.