In appearing before the board, the minister indicated
that he was hopeful that the board would see that by virtue of the
islandís geography, it is uniquely and detrimentally affected by any
labour disruptions at the Port of Montreal, and asked the board to
designate the shipment of goods to the Province of Newfoundland and
Labrador via Oceanex Inc. as an essential service.
Minister Hedderson noted that a full 50 per cent of
the goods shipped to the island of Newfoundland arrive via Oceanex Inc.
through the ports of Montreal and Halifax. The other 50 per cent arrives
via Marine Atlantic. Currently, sufficient capacity does not exist in
the short term to allow for a meaningful and effective flow of goods to
the island through any alternate means.
"Shipments to the island of Newfoundland through the
Port of Montreal account for only three per cent of the freight traffic
through that port," said Minister Hedderson. "We believe that
designating the shipment of this small fraction of the portís freight as
essential would do nothing to affect the bargaining position of either
the union or the employerís association and would ensure that goods
essential to the health and safety of people in this province are not
put in jeopardy. I feel that we put forward a strong position on behalf
of the province, and along with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,
I eagerly await the boardís decision in this matter."
The board is expected to announce its decision on
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