Canada dockworkers call off strike

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2023
Source: Splash 24/7

Canadian west coast dockworkers have revoked a strike notice issued for Saturday following a crisis meeting by the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The strike notice withdrawn had been issued earlier Wednesday, just hours after the Canada Industrial Relations Board ruled the workers’ renewed strike was illegal because there was no 72-hour notice.

The strike that had shut down British Columbia’s ports for days resumed Tuesday after the union representing over 7,000 dockworkers voted down a tentative four-year deal agreed with employers last week.

The labour watchdog, however, ordered on Wednesday that any member of the union who was participating in strike activity “immediately perform the duties of their employment as per the collective agreement and applicable dispatch rules”.

This was shortly followed by a new strike notice from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada, sparking concerns that the province’s ports could be shut down again by Saturday.

The industrial action is estimated to have frozen billions of dollars worth of cargo from moving in and out of ports, including at Canada’s busiest, Vancouver.

In response to a potential new crisis and mounting calls for resolute government action to end the strike, Trudeau convened a cabinet committee on the same day.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that Trudeau had stressed the critical importance of operations at the ports resuming as soon as possible, adding that workers and employers across Canada cannot face further disruptions.

“He asked ministers and senior officials their advice toward achieving this goal and directed them to pursue all available options to ensure the stability of our supply chains and to protect Canadian jobs and our economy,” the statement said.

In a joint statement, Canada’s labour minister, Seamus O’Regan and transport minister, Omar Alghabra, said earlier on Wednesday: “We have been patient. We have respected the collective bargaining process. But we need our ports operating.”

The ILWU Canada reversed course and revoked its fresh strike notice late Wednesday, citing no reason.

“Effective immediately the strike notice dated July 22 for 9:00 am has now been removed,” the union said in a statement.


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