Dockworkers in Western Canada Plan Strike July 1 as Pay Talks Fail

Date: Thursday, June 29, 2023
Source: Bloomberg

The union representing about 7,200 dockworkers at Canada’s western ports said members plan to strike July 1 after negotiations with employers for a new contract failed.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada “ has run out options at the bargaining table,” it said in a statement on its website Wednesday. Employees “are prepared to walk off the job at 8 a.m.” Saturday, it said.

The ILWU and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association — which represents about 49 waterfront companies and terminal operators — have been in talks since February to renew a collective agreement to replace the old one that expired March 31. A strike at ports in British Columbia would affect Vancouver, Canada’s biggest maritime hub.

The union wants to “stop the erosion” of work through contracting out and wants to protect workers from the “devastating impacts of port automation,” it said.

Despite Wednesday’s development, “we remain ready to re-engage with our labour partners through the federal mediation process, with the desire of reaching a fair and balanced deal at the table that keeps our ports stable and goods flowing for Canadians,” the BCMEA said in a statement.

The employers’ organization said it would voluntarily enter a mediation-arbitration process that encourages dialogue and negotiations and only, if necessary, provides for a binding outcome via interest arbitration. So far, ILWU Canada has declined the proposal, it said.

Earlier this month, workers and employers announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract that will cover employees at 29 US West Coast ports, a major step toward averting fresh supply-chain troubles for the world’s biggest economy.

The talks dragged on for more than a year to replace the previous pact that expired July 1. Both parties must now ratify the agreement.


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