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Five Quebec ferry routes disrupted by strike on Friday, Saturday

A ferry in Quebec. (LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Jacques Boissinot) A ferry in Quebec. (LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Jacques Boissinot)
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Five ferry routes operated by the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) are being disrupted after navigation and mechanical officers announced they would be on strike Friday and Saturday.

The move is part of a 10-day strike mandate by some 150 workers represented by the Steelworkers union.

On the Québec/Lévis, Sorel-Tracy/Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola and Matane/Baie-Comeau/Godbout crossings, service is completely suspended on Friday and Saturday.

On the L'Isle-aux-Coudres/Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive and Tadoussac/Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferries, minimal service will be provided as they are considered an essential service.

The two strike days, as Quebec's Fête nationale long weekend gets underway, are the first under a 10-day strike mandate adopted by 93 per cent of the union members who voted.

The dates of the other eight strike days have yet to be determined.

The main issue is wages, with the union arguing its members earn $10 an hour less than other officers with comparable certificates.

"Everything is at a standstill due to the lack of an offer from management negotiators. We're having meetings, but nothing is happening," denounced the union's maritime sector representative Luc Laberge.

The union also says agency workers are paid "between two and three times" more than STQ officers to do the same work due to recruitment difficulties.

"If the STQ started paying its people properly and respecting them, it wouldn't have to pay top dollar for outside agency officers," said Laberge.

Negotiations have been underway for several months.

The STQ says it deplores the workers' strike action, arguing that the decision will penalize thousands of Quebecers.

"The STQ respects the right of its employees to strike, but finds it unfortunate that employees affiliated to the Steelworkers union are resorting to this pressure tactic at this time since negotiations are continuing, as provided for in the bargaining schedule," it said.

The L'Isle-aux-Coudres/Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive ferry service will be provided between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, the ferry will operate between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The Tadoussac/Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferry schedule will be as follows:

  • Departures every two hours from each shore from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Departures every 30 minutes from each shore from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and
  • Departures every 40 minutes from each shore from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 21, 2024.

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