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Unifor and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. reached a tentative agreement on Sunday night, ending an eight-day strike that halted shipments of western wheat, road salt and other commodities on the waterway that links the North American heartland with global markets.

The seaway management company said employees will return to work at 7 a.m. on Monday and that ship traffic will resume gradually. Details of the agreement, which must be ratified by union members, were not available.

About 350 seaway workers, skilled tradespeople and supervisors went on strike on Oct. 22 after the two sides failed to agree on wages and working conditions. The strike – the first in 55 years – closed 13 of the 15 Seaway locks between Montreal and Lake Erie, preventing ships from moving Prairie wheat, gasoline, steel, road salt and other goods ahead of the winter shutdown in late December. More than 110 ships were stranded by the shutdown.

“We have in hand an agreement that’s fair for workers and secures a strong and stable future for the Seaway,” said Terence Bowles, chief executive officer of Seaway Management, in a statement.

Lana Payne, Unifor’s national president, said the workers went on strike for more respect in the workplace and wages that better reflect inflationary pressures.

“They have shown that the best deal is reached at the bargaining table, and I congratulate the committee on their outstanding work on behalf of their members,” Ms. Payne said in a statement.

The shutdown angered the U.S. and Canadian vessel operators, port authorities and industries that rely on the Seaway. The locks near Montreal and in the Welland Canal between lakes Ontario and Erie allow steel products, grain and road salt to move within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway, as well as for export.

Shippers said the shutdown, which followed a summer strike at B.C. ports, harmed Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner.

Bruce Burrows, head of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said it will take about 16 hours for the Seaway operations to resume, and five days to clear the backlog of ships. The strike’s impact was worth $110-million a day in direct and indirect costs, said Mr. Burrows, who represents vessel owners, ports, and shippers.

The strike halted ships bearing western grain destined for Europe; Sifto road salt from Goderich, Ont., intended for sidewalks and streets at cities all around the region; as well as iron ore from U.S. and Quebec mines.

“Our first priority is going back to work,” Mr. Burrows said by phone. “This is rush-hour season for us.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the strike was eight days long.

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